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Henry Wi r Wilbur 

Introduction by 



Published by Friends' General Conference Advancement Committer 





£ CI.A278342^ 


List of Illustrations 5 

Author's Preface " 7 

Introduction 11 

Chapter I, Ancestry and Boyhood 17 

Chapter II. His Young Manhood 22 

Chapter III, First Appearance in the Ministry 28 

Chapter IV, Early Labors in the Ministry 32 

Chapter V, Later Ministerial Labors 38 

Chapter AT, Religious Journeys in 1828 46 

Chapter VII, Ideas About the Ministry 57 

Chapter VIII, The Home at Jericho 66 

Chapter IX, The Hicks Family 71 

Chapter X, Letters to His Wife : . . 76 

Chapter XI, The Slavery Question 84 

Chapter XII, Various Opinions 95 

Chapter XIII, Some Points of Doctrine 107 

Chapter XIV, Before the Division 121 

Chapter XV, First Trouble in Philadelphia 126 

Chapter XVI, The Time of Unsettlement 139 

Chapter XVII, Three Sermons Reviewed 


Chapter XVIII, The Braithwaite Controversy 161 


Chapter XIX, Ann Jones in Dutchess County 171 

Chapter XX, The Experience with T. Shillitoe 181 

Chapter XXI, Disownment and Doctrine 188 

Chapter XXII, After the "Separation" 195 

Chapter XXIII, Friendly and Unfriendly Critics 202 

Chapter XXIV, Recollections, Reminiscences and Testi- 
monies 211 

Chapter XXV, Putting off the Harness 218 

Appendix 226 


Elias Hicks (from bust, by Partridge ) Frontispiece 

Hicks House and Jericho Meeting House, facing. . 57 

Children of Elias Hicks, facing 97 

Elias Hicks (from painting, by Ketcham ) facing 121 

Surveyor's Plotting, by Elias Hicks, facing 144 

Facsimile of Letter, facing 105 

Burying Ground at Jericho, facing 216 


Elias Hicks was a much misunderstood man in his own 
time, and the lapse of eighty years since his death has done 
but little to make him known to the passing generations. 
His warm personal friends, and of them there were many, 
considered him little less than a saint; his enemies, some 
of whom were intensely bitter in their personal feeling, 
whatever may have been the basis of their judgment, 
believed him to be a man whose influence was malevolent 
and mischievous. It is no part of the purpose of this book 
to attempt to reconcile the conflicting estimates touching 
the life and character of this remarkable man. On the 
contrary, our hope is to present him as he was, in his own 
environment, and not at all as he might have been had he 
lived in our time, or as his admirers would have him, to 
make him conform to their own estimate. In this biograph- 
ical task, Elias Hicks becomes largely his own interpreter. 
As he measured himself in private correspondence and in 
public utterance, so this book will endeavor to measure him. 

We believe that it is not too much to say that he carried 
the fundamental idea of the Society of Friends, as delivered 
by George Fox, to its logical conclusion, as applied to 
thought and life, more clearly and forcibly than any of his 
predecessors or contemporaries. Not a few of those who 
violently opposed him, discounted the position of Fox and 
P>arclay touching the Inner Light, and gave exaggerated 
importance to the claims of evangelical theology. What- 
ever others may have thought, Elias Hicks believed that he 
preached Christianity of the pure apostolic type, and 



Quakerism as it was delivered by the founders. It should 
be remembered that the conformist and non-conformist 
disputants of the seventeenth century talked as savagely 
about Fox as the early nineteenth century critics did about 
Hicks. In fact, to accept the theory of Fox about the 
nature and office of the indwelling spirit, necessarily 
develops either indifference or opposition to the plans and 
theories of what was in the time of Elias Hicks, if it is not 
now, the popularly accepted theology. 

No attempt has been made to write a comprehensive 
and detailed history of the so-called "separation." So far, 
however, as the trouble related to Elias Hicks, it has been 
considered, and as much light as possible has been thrown 
on the case. Necessarily this does not admit of very much 
reference to the setting up of separate meetings, which fol- 
lowed the open rupture of 1827-28, or the contests over 4 
property which occurred after the death of Elias Hicks. 
Even the causes of the trouble in the Society only appear 
as they seem necessary to make plain the feeling of Elias 
Hicks in the case, and the attitude of his opponents toward 

In dealing with the doctrines of Elias Hicks, or his 
views about various subjects, we have endeavored to avoid 
the one-sided policy, and to discriminate between the mat- 
ters which would be accepted by the majority of those 
Friends to-day who are erroneously made to bear the name 
of Elias Hicks, and the theories which they now repudiate. 
On the other hand, his most conservative and peculiar ideas 
are given equal prominence with those which more nearly 
conform to present-day thought. 

In stating cases of antagonism, especially where it 
appeared in public meetings, we have endeavored rather to 
give samples, than to repeat and amplify occurrences where 


the same purpose and spirit were exhibited. The citations 
in the book should, therefore, be taken as types, and not as 
mere isolated or extraordinary occurrences. 

References to the descendants of Elias Hicks, and 
other matters relating to his life, which do not seem to 
naturally belong in the coherent and detailed story, will be 
found in the appendix. This is also true of the usual 
acknowledgment of assistance, and the reference to the pub- 
lished sources of information consulted by the author in 
writing" the book. 


Now and again a human life is lived in such obedience 
to the "heavenly vision" that it becomes an authority in 
other lives. The unswerving rectitude ; whence is its divine 
directness ? the world has to ask. Its clear-sightedness ; 
how comes it that the eye is single to the true course? Its 
strength to endure ; from what fountain flows unfailing 
strength? Its quickening sympathy; what is the sweet 
secret ? 

The thought of the world fixes itself into stereotyped 
and imprisoning forms from which only the white heat of 
the impassioned seer and prophet can slowly liberate it. 
At last the world ceases to persecute or to crucify its 
liberator, and lo ! an acknowledged revelation of God! 
This came to pass in the seventeenth century, when it was 
given George Fox to see and to proclaim that "there was 
an anointing within man to teach him, and that the Lord 
would teach him, himself." 

The eighteenth century developed another teacher in 
the religious society of Friends, whose message has been a 
distinctly leavening influence in the thought of the world. 
It is not easy to account for Elias Hicks. He was not the 
"son of a prophet." Nor was he a gift from the schools 
of the time in which he lived. In the "Journal of His Life 
and Religious Labours," published in 1832 by Isaac T. 
Hopper, there is no reference to schpol days. 

There is one clue to this man that may explain much 
to us. Of his ancestry he says in the restrained language 
characteristic of his writings^ "My parents were descended 


from reputable families, and sustained a good character 
among their friends and those who knew them." Here, 
then, is the rock-foundation upon which he builded, the 
factor which could not be spared from the life which he 
lived — that in his veins was the blood of those who had 
"sustained a good character among those who knew them." 
Some of the leisure of his youth had been given to fishing 
and fowling, which he looked back to as wholesome recrea- 
tion, since he mostly preferred going alone. While he 
waited in stillness for the coming of the fowl, 'his mind was 
at times so taken up in divine meditations, that the oppor- 
tunities were seasons of instruction and comfort to him/ 
Out of these meditations grew the conviction in his tendered 
soul that it was wanton diversion for himself and his 
companions to destroy the small birds that could be of no 
use to them. 

Recalling his youth, he writes: "Some of my leisure 
hours were occupied in reading the Scriptures, in which I 
took considerable delight, and it tended to my real profit 
and religious improvement." It may be that this great 
classic in English, as well as library of ancient history, and 
book of spiritual revelation, was not only the food that 
stimulated his spiritual growth, but also took the place to 
him, in some measure, of the schools as a means of culture. 
It is plain to see that he had what is the first requisite for 
a student — a hungering mind. The alphabet opened to him 
the ways and means, which he used as far as he could, for 
the satisfying of this divine hunger. A new book pos- 
sessed for him such charm, it is said, that his friends who 
invited him for a social visit, knowing this, were careful to 
put the new books out of sight, lest he should become 
absorbed in them, and they lose his ever-welcome and very 
entertaining conversation. He even had experience as a 
teacher; and the testimony is given by an aged Friend, once 


his pupil : "The manners of Elias Hicks were so mild, his 
deportment so dignified, and his conversation so instructive, 
that it left an impression for good on many of his pupils' 
minds that time never effaced." 

That he had not the teaching of the schools narrowed 
his own resources, and, doubtless, restricted his field of 
vision. But such a life as his, that garnered wisdom more 
than knowledge of books, is a great encouragement to those 
who have not had the opportunities of the schools. We 
might not know without being told that he had missed from 
his equipment a college degree ; but we do know that his 
endowment of sound mind was supplemented with incor- 
ruptible character; we do know that his life was founded 
upon belief in everlasting truth and an unchanging integrity. 
The record of his unfolding spiritual life shows that 

"So nigh is grandeur to our dust, 
"So near is God to man, 
When Duty whispers low, Thou must,' 
The youth replies, 'I can.' " 

There is evidence that Elias Hicks had not only a 
hungering mind, but that he had in marked degree the open 
mind, and that he accorded to others liberty of opinion. 
It is said that he was unwilling that his discourses be 
printed, lest they become a bondage to other minds. He 
wrote to his friend, William Poole : "Therefore every gen- 
eration must have more light than the preceding one ; other- 
wise, they must sit down in ease in the labour and works of 
their predecessors." And he left a word of caution to 
approaching age, when he said in a meeting in New York : 
"The old folks think they have got far enough, they are 
settling on the lees, they are blocking up the way." It does 
not disturb my thought of him that my own mother remem- 
bered a mild rebuke from him for the modest flower-bed 
that brightened the door-yard of her country home. For I 


discover in him rudiments of the love for beauty. A min- 
ister among Friends was once his guest during the harvest 
season on Long Island, and recalled long after that, when 
the hour arrived for the mid-week meeting, he came in from 
the harvest field, and not only exchanged his working for 
his meeting garments, but added his gloves, although it 
was hot, midsummer weather. There was certainly the rudi- 
mentary love for beauty in this scrupulous regard for the 
proprieties ; but it was kept in such severe check that he 
could not justify the spending of time upon a flower-border. 
The poet had not then expressed for us the sweet garden 
prayer that might have brought to his sensitive mind a new 
view of the purpose and value of the flower-border : 

"That we were earthlings and of earth must live, 
Thou knowest, Allah, and did'st give us bread ; 
Yea, and remembering of our souls, didst give 
Us food of flowers : thy name be hallowed !" 

From the days in which he preferred his hours of 
solitude in fishing as opportunities for "divine meditations" 
we can trace his steady spiritual growth. While his busi- 
ness life was henceforth subordinated to his labors among 
men to promote the life of the spirit, he was never indif- 
ferent to the exact discharge of his own financial obliga- 
tions ; nor was he indifferent to the needs of others. One 
incident surely marks him as belonging to the School of 
Christ : "Once when harvests were light and provisions 
scarce and high, his own wheat fields yielded abundantly. 
Foreseeing the scarcity and consequent rise in prices, specu- 
lators sought early to buy his wheat. He declined to sell. 
They offered him large prices, and renewed their visits 
repeatedly, increasing the price each time. Still he refused 
to sell, even for the unprecedented sum of three dollars a 
bushel. But by and by, when his poorer neighbors, whose 
crops were light, began to need, he invited them to come 


and get as much wheat as they required for use, at the 
usual price of one dollar a bushel." 

He entered into the life of his community and of his 
times, anticipating by nearly a century the work of Friends' 
Philanthropic Committees of the present day. It is related 
that he was much opposed to an attempt to establish a 
liquor-selling tavern in the Jericho neighborhood — that 
when he saw strangers approaching he would invite them 
to accept his own hospitality, thus making unnecessary the 
tavern-keeping business in the sparsely settled country 

We would expect that, with his sense of justice and 
his appreciation of values, Elias Hicks would place men and 
women side by side, not only in the home, but also in the 
larger household of faith, and in the affairs of the world. 
It is remembered that his face was set in this direction — 
that, strict Society-disciplinarian as he was, he advocated a 
change in the Discipline to allow women a consulting voice 
in making and amending the Discipline. 

It must be borne in mind that he lived through the 
Revolutionary period of 1776, and through the War of 
181 2. So true was he to his convictions against war that 
he would not allow himself to benefit by the advanced 
prices in foodstuffs ; and we are told that the records of 
his monthly meeting show that he sacrificed much of his 
property by adherence to his peace principles. 

Neither can we forget the testing that came to him in 
the institution of slavery. For, according to the custom 
of the times, his own father was the owner of slaves. His 
open mind responded to the labors of a committee of the 
New York Yearly Meeting; and upon the freeing of his 
father's slaves, he ever after considered their welfare, 
making such restitution as he could for past injustice. 


To his daughter, Martha Hicks, he wrote : "My clear 
love to thee, to thy dear mother, who next to the Divine 
Blesser has been the joy of my youth, and who, I trust and 
hope, will be the comfort of my declining years. O dear 
child, cherish and help her, for she hath done abundance 
for thee." 

These fruits of the religious faith of Elias Hicks are 
offered as the test given us by the Great Teacher himself, 
by which to know the life of a man. They mark a life 
rooted in the life of God. Imperishable as the root whence 
they grew, may they feed the souls of men from generation 
to generation, satisfying the hungry, strengthening the 
weak, and making all glad in the joy of each ! Thus it is 
permitted to be "still praising Him." 

Elizabeth Powell Bond. 

Ancestry and Boyhood. 

The Hicks family is English in its origin, authentic 
history tracing it clearly back to the fourteenth century. 
By a sort of genealogical paradox, a far-away ancestor of 
the apostle of peace in the eighteenth century was a man 
of war, for we are told that Sir Ellis Hicks was knighted 
on the battlefield of Poitiers in 1356, nearly four hundred 
years before the birth of his distinguished descendant on 
Long Island, in America. 

From the best available data, it is believed that the 
progenitor of the Hicks family on Long Island arrived in 
America in 1638, and came over from the New England 
mainland about 1645, settling in the town of Hempstead. 
A relative, Robert by name, came over with the body of 
Pilgrims arriving in Massachusetts in 1621. 

John Hicks, the pioneer, was undoubtedly a man of 
affairs, with that strong character which qualifies men for 
leadership. In the concerns of the new community he was 
often drafted for important public service. In Seventh 
month, 1647, ^ became necessary to reach a final settlement 
with the Indians for land purchased from them by the 
colonists the year before. The adjustment of this trans- 
action was committed to John Hicks by his neighbors. 
When, in 1663, the English towns on the island and the 
New York mainland created a council whose aim it was to 
secure aid from the General Court at Hartford against the 
Dutch, John Hicks was made a delegate from Long Island. 
In 1665 Governor Nicoll, of New York, called a convention 



to be composed of two delegates from each town in West- 
chester County and on Long Island, "to make additions 
and alterations to existing laws." John Hicks was chosen 
delegate from the town of Hempstead. 

Thomas, the great grandfather of Elias, was in 169 1 
appointed the first judge of Queens County, by Governor 
Andross, which office he held for a number of years, with 
credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. 

The town of Hempstead is on the north side of Long 
Island, and borders on the Sound. There Elias Hicks, the 
fifth in line of descent from the pioneer John, was born 
on the 19th of Third month, 1748. He was the fourth 
child of John and Martha Smith Hicks. Of the ancestry 
of the mother of Elias little is known. There is no evi- 
dence that the ancestors of Elias on either side were mem- 
bers of the Society of Friends, still they seem to have had 
much in common with Friends, and, at any rate, were will- 
ing to assist the peculiar people when the heavy hand of 
persecution fell upon them. In this connection we may 
quote the words of Elias himself. He says: "My father 
was a grandson of Thomas Hicks, of whom our worthy 
friend Samuel Bownas 2 makes honorable mention in his 
Journal, and by whom he was much comforted and 

2 Samuel Bownas was a minister among Friends, and was born 
in Westmoreland, England, about 1667. He secured a minute to make 
a religious visit to America the latter part of 1701. Ninth month 30, 
1702, he was bound over to the Queens Coun'y Grand Jury, the charge 
against him being that in a sermon he had spoken disparagingly of the 
Church of England. The jury really failed to indict him, which greatly 
exasperated the presiding judge, who threatened to deport him to 
London chained to the man-of-war's deck. It was at this point that 
Thomas Hicks, whom Bownas erroneously concluded was Chief 
Justice of the Province, appeared to comfort and assure him that lie 
could not thus be deported to England. Bownas continued in jail for 
about a year, during which time he learned the shoemaker's trade. He 
was finally liberated by proclamation. 


strengthened when imprisoned through the envy of George 
Keith, 3 at Jamaica, on Long Island." 4 

We are told "in the Journal, ''Neither of my parents 
were members in strict fellowship with any religious society, 
until some little time before my birth." 5 It is certain that 
the father of Elias was a member among Friends at the time 
of his birth, and his mother must also have enjoyed such 
membership. Elias must have been a birthright member, 
as he nowhere mentions having been received into the 
Society by convincement. It is evident that his older 
brothers and sisters were not connected with Friends. 

When Elias was eight years of age his father removed 
from Hempstead to the south shore of Long Island, the 
new home being near the seashore. Both before and after 
that time he bewails the fact that his associates were not 
Friends, and what he confessed was worse — they were 
persons with no religious inclinations or connections what- 

The new home afforded added opportunities for 
pleasure. Game was plentiful in the wild fowl that mated 
in the marshes and meadows, while the bays and inlets 
abounded in fish. Hunting and fishing, therefore, became 
his principal diversion. While he severely condemned this 
form of amusement in later life, he brought to the whole 
matter a rational philosophy. Fie considered that at the 

3 George Keith, born near Aberdeen. 1639, became connected with 
the Society of Friends about 1662. He came , to America in 1684. 
but finally separated from Friends, and endeavored to organize a new 
sect to be called Christian, or Baptist Quakers. This effort failed, and 
about 1700 he entered the Church of England. After this he violently 
criticised Friends, and repeatedly sought controversy with them. He 
had quite an experience of this sort with Samuel Bownas. and was 
considered the real instigator of the complaint on which Bownas was 
lodged in jail. Keith looms up large in all that body of history and 
biography unfriendly to the Society of Friends. 

4 Journal of Elias Hicks, p. 7. 
'Journal of Elias Hicks, p. 7. 


time hunting and fishing were profitable to him, because in 
his exposed condition ''they had a tendency to keep me 
more at and about home, and often prevented my joining 
with loose company, which I had frequent opportunities of 
doing without my father's knowledge." 

Three years after moving to the new home, when Elias 
was eleven years of age, his mother was removed by death. 
The father, thus left with six children, two younger than 
Elias, finally found it necessary to divide the family. Two 
years after the death of his mother he went to reside with 
one of his elder brothers who was married, and lived some 
distance from his father's. It is probable that this brother's 
house was his home most of the time until he was seventeen. 
Much regret is expressed by him that he was thus removed 
from parental restraint. 

The Journal makes possibly unnecessarily sad confession 
of what he considered waywardness during this period. 
He says that he wandered far from "the salutary path of 
true religion, learning to sing vain songs, and to take delight 
in running horses." 6 Just what the songs were, and the 
exact character of the horse racing must be mainly a matter 
of conjecture. Manifestly "running horses" did not mean 
at all the type of racetrack gambling with which twentieth- 
century Long Island is familiar. 

In the midst of self-accusation, he declares that he did 
not "give way to anything which was commonly accounted 
disreputable, having always a regard to strict honesty, and 
to such a line of conduct as comported with politeness and 
good breeding-." 7 One can scarcely think of Elias Hicks 
as a juvenile Chesterfield. From the most unfavorable 
things he says about himself, the conclusion is easily reached 
that he was really a serious-minded youth, and what has 

* Journal of Elias Hicks, p. 8. 
7 Journal, p. <S. 


always been considered a "good boy." It must be remem- 
bered, however, that he set for himself a high standard, 
which was often violated, as he became what he called 
"hardened in vanity." Speaking of his youthful sports, and 
possible waywardness, his maturer judgment confessed, that 
but "for the providential care of my Heavenly Father, my 
life would have fallen a sacrifice to my folly and indis- 
cretion." 8 

There is practically no reference to the matter of 
schools or schooling in the Journal. There is every reason 
for the belief that he was self-educated. He may have 
had a brief experience at schools of a rather primary 
character. At all events he must have had a considerable 
acquaintance with mathematics, and evidently he at an early 
age contracted the reading habit. Books were few, and of 
periodical literature there was none. Friendly literature 
itself was confined to Sewell's History, probably Ell wood's 
edition of George Fox's Journal, while he may have had 
access to some of the controversial pamphlets of the seven- 
teenth century period. The Journals of various "ancient" 
Friends were to be had, but how rich the mine of this litera- 
ture which he explored we shall never know. Evidently 
from his youth he was a careful and intelligent reader of 
the Bible, and regarding its passages, its ethics and its the- 
ology, he became his own interpreter. 

8 Journal of Elias Hicks, p. 9. 


His Young Manhood. 

At the age of seventeen Elias became an apprentice, 
and set about learning the carpenter's trade. His mechan- 
ical experience during this period receives practically no 
attention in the Journal. We know, however, that in those 
days none of the trades were divided into sectional parts as 
now. In short, he learned a whole trade, and not part of 
one. It was the day of hand-made doors, and not a few 
carpenters took the timber standing in the forest, and super- 
intended or personally carried on all of the processes of 
transforming it into lumber and from it producing the 
finished product. The carpenter of a century and a half ago 
had to be able to wield the broad-ax, and literally know 
how to "hew to the line." 

It is not known exactly how long this apprenticeship 
lasted, but probably about four years. As a matter of 
course, there was much moving from neighborhood to 
neighborhood, as the building necessities demanded the 
presence of the carpenters. The life was more or less 
irregular, and Elias says that he received neither serious 
advice nor restraint at the hands of his "master." He was 
brought in contact with frivolously minded young people, 
and was unduly carried away with the love of amusement. 
During this period he learned to dance, and enjoyed the 
experience. But he considered dancing a most mis- 
chievous pastime, and evil to a marked degree. For this 
indulgence he repeatedly upbraided himself in the Journal . 
In his opinion, dancing was "an unnatural and unchristian 



practice," never receiving- the approval "of the divine light 
in the secret of the heart." 

He passed through various experiences in the endeavor 
to break away from the dancing habit, with many back- 
slidings, overthrowing what he considered his good resolu- 
tions. But finally he separated from all those companions 
of his youth who beset him with temptation. He says : "I 
was deeply tried, but the Lord was graciously near; and as 
my cry was secretly to him for strength, he enabled me to 
covenant with him, that if he would be pleased in mercy to 
empower me, I would forever cease from this vain and 
sinful amusement." 1 

His first intimation touching the eternally lost condi- 
tion of the wicked is in connection with his experience at 
this time. We cannot do better than to quote his own 
words : 

"In looking back to this season of deep probation, my 
soul has been deeply humbled ; for I had cause to believe 
that if I had withstood at this time the merciful inter- 
position of divine love, and had rebelled against this clear 
manifestation of the Lord's will, he would have withdrawn 
his light from me, and my portion would have been among 
the wicked, cast out forever from the favorable presence 
of my judge. I should also forever have been obliged to 
acknowledge his mercy and justice, and acquit the Lord, 
my redeemer, who had done so much for me ; for with long- 
suffering and much abused mercy he had waited patiently 
for my return, and would have gathered me before that 
time, as I well knew, as a hen gathereth her chickens under 
her wings, but I would not." 2 

His second diversion, and probably practiced after he 
had given up dancing, was hunting. While not considered 
in itself reprehensible, when the sport led to wantonness. 

1 Journal of Elias Hicks, p. 10. 

2 Journal, p. 11, 


and the taking of life of bird. or beast simply for amuse- 
ment, it was vigorously condemned. He says that he was 
finally "led to consider conduct like this to be a great breach 
of trust, and an infringement of the divine prerogative." 
"It therefore became a settled principle with me not to take 
the life of any creature, unless it was really useful and 
necessary when dead, or very noxious and hurtful when 
living." 3 

When the settled conviction came to him touching the 
dance and the sportsman's practice, he was probably not out 
of his teens. This conviction resulted in victory over the 
propensity, probably before he reached his majority. The 
whole experience was an early illustration of the strength 
of will and purpose which was characteristic of this remark- 
able man throughout his entire life. 

Marriage is always a turning-point in a man's life. In 
the case of Elias Hicks, it was so in a marked degree. 
Having become adept in his trade, at the age of twenty- 
two, he was married to Jemima Seaman. This important 
event cannot be better stated than in the simple, quaint lan- 
guage of the bridegroom himself. He says: 

"My affection being drawn toward her in that relation, 
I communicated my views to her, and received from her a 
corresponding expression ; and having the full unity and 
concurrence of our parents and friends, we, after some time, 
accomplished our marriage at a solemn meeting of Friends, 
at Westbury, on the 2d of First month, 1771. On this 
important occasion we felt the clear and consoling evidence 
of divine truth, and it remained with us as a seal upon our 
spirits, strengthening us mutually to bear, with becoming 
fortitude, the vicissitudes and trials which fell to our lot, 
and of which we had a large share while passing through 
this probationary state." 4 

" Journal, p. 13. 
4 Journal, p. 13. 


The records of Westbury Monthly Meeting contain the 
official evidence of this marriage, which was evidently con- 
ducted strictly in accordance with discipline. From the 
minutes of that meeting we extract the following" : 

"At a monthly meting held in the meeting house, ye 
29th day of ye Eleventh month, 1770. 

"Elias Hicks son of John Hicks, of Rockaway, and 
Jemima Seaman, daughter of Jonathan Seaman, of Jericho, 
presented themselves and declared their intentions of mar- 
riage with each, and this meeting appoints John Mott and 
Micajah Mott to make enquiry into Elias Hicks, his clear- 
ness m relation of marriage with other women, and to make 
report at the next monthly meeting. 

"At a monthly meeting in the meeting house at West- 
bury ye 26th day of ye Twelfth month, 1770, Elias Hicks 
and Jemima Seaman appeared the second time, and Elias 
Hicks signified they continued their intentions of marriage 
and desired an answer to their former proposals of mar- 
riage, and the Friends who were appointed to make enquiry 
into Elias' clearness reported that they had made enquiry, 
and find nothing but that he is clear of marriage engage- 
ments to other women, and they having consent of parents 
and nothing appearing to obestruct their proceedings in 
marriage, this meeting leaves them to solemnize their mar- 
riage according to the good order used amongst Friends, 
and appoints Robert Seaman and John Mott to attend their 
said marriage, and to make report to the next monthly 
meeting it was consumated. 

"On ye 30th day of ye First month, 1771, Robert Sea- 
man reported that they had attended the marriage of Elias 
Flicks and Jemima Seaman, and was with them both at 
Jericho and at Rockaway, and John Mott also reported that 
he accompanied them at Rockaway and that the marriage 
was consummated orderly." 

In more ways than one the marriage of Elias was the 
important event of his life. Jemima Seaman was an only 
child, and naturally her parents desired that she should be 
near them. A few months after their marriage Elias and 
Jemima were urged to take up their residence at the Sea- 



man homestead, Elias to manage the farm of his father-in- 
law. The result was that the farm in Jericho became the 
home of Elias Hicks the remainder of his life. Here he 
lived and labored for nearly sixty years. 

The Seamans were concerned Friends, and the farm 
was near the Friends' meeting house in Jericho. From this 
dates his constant attendance at the meetings for worship 
and discipline of the Society. Besides the family influence, 
some of his neighbors, strong men and women, and deeply 
attached to the principles and testimonies of Friends, made 
for the young people an ideal and inspiring environment. 
The Friends at Jericho could not have been unmindful of 
the native ability and taking qualities of this young man, 
whose fortunes were to be linked with their own, and whose 
future labors were to be so singularly devoted to their 
religious Society. 

Jemima, the wife of Elias Hicks, was the daughter of 
Jonathan and Elizabeth Seaman. The father of Jemima 
was the fifth generation from Captain John Seaman, who 
came to Long Island from the Connecticut mainland about 
1660. For his time, he seems to have been a man of affairs, 
and is recorded as one of the patentees of the town of 
Hempstead, on the Sound side of the island. There was 
a John Seaman who came to Massachusetts in the Winthrop 
fleet of ten vessels and 900 immigrants in 1630. That form 
of biography which shades into tradition is not agreed as 
to whether Captain John, of Hempstead, was the Puritan 
John or his son. 

Running the family history back to England, we find 
Lazarus Seaman, known as a Puritan divine, a native of 
Leicester. He died in 1667. He is described as a learned 
theologian, versed in the art of controversy, and stout in 
defense of his position in religious matters. 

The history of heraldry, and the story of the efforts 


to capture the holy sepulcher, tell us that John de Seaman 
was one of the first crusaders. To this line the Seaman 
lineage in America is believed to be attached. 

At some time, whether in his early manhood is not 
known, Elias Hicks took up surveying. How steadily or 
extensively he followed, that business it is impossible to say. 
It is not hard, however, to find samples of his surveying 
and plotting among the papers of Long Island convey- 
ancers. 5 His compass, and the home-made pine case in 
which he kept the instrument and the tripod, are in exist- 
ence. 6 The compass is a simple affair, without a telescope, 
of course. It folds into a flat shape, the box not being 
more than two inches thick, over all. 

s See cut facing page 145. 

6 They are in possession of the great-grandson of Elias Hicks, 
William Seaman, of Glen Cove, L. I. 


tailed information as to this event. From them we make 
the following extract : 

"At a monthly meeting held at Westbnry ye 29th of 
Fourth month, 1778, William Seaman and William Valen- 
tine report that they have made inquiry concerning Elias 
Hicks, and find nothing to hinder his being recommended 
to the meeting of Ministers and Elders, whom this meeting 
recommends to that meeting as a minister, and directs the 
clerk to forward a copy of this minute to said meeting." 

The acknowledgment of the ministry of Elias Hicks 
took place a little over seven years after his marriage. 
From various references in the Journal the inference is 
warranted that he did not begin to speak in the meeting for 
worship until a considerable time after this event. It is, 
therefore, probable that his service in this line had not been 
going on, at the most, more than three or four years when 
his acknowledgment took place. He had only been a 
recorded minister something over a year when his first con- 
siderable visit was undertaken. 

Unfortunately, the preserved personal correspondence 
of Elias Hicks does not cover this period in his life, so 
that we are confined to what he chose to put in his Journal, 
as the only self-interpretation of this interesting period. 

It appears that the New York Yearly Meeting was 
held at the regularly appointed times all through the period 
of the Revolutionary War. Previous to 1777 the meeting 
met annually at Flushing, but in that year the sessions were 
removed to Westbnry. In 1793 it was concluded to hold 
future meetings in New York. 

During the war the British controlled Long Island, 
and for some time the meeting house in Flushing was occu- 
pied as a barracks by the king's troops, which probably 
accounts for moving the yearly meeting further out on the 
island to Westbury. 

In attending the yearly meeting, and in performing 


religious visits to the particular meetings, passing the lines 
of both armies was a frequent necessity. This privilege 
was freely granted Friends. Touching this matter, Elias 
makes this reference : 

"This was a favor which the parties would not grant 
to their best friends, who were of a warlike disposition ; 
which shows what great advantages would redound to 
mankind were they all of this pacific spirit. I passed 
myself through the lines of both armies six times during 
the war without molestation, both parties generally receiv- 
ing me with openness and civility; and although I had to 
pass over a tract of country, between the two armies, some- 
times more than thirty miles in extent, and which was much 
frequented by robbers, a set, in general, of cruel, unprin- 
cipled banditti, issuing out from both parties, yet, excepting 
once, I met with no interruption even from them. But 
although Friends in general experienced many favors and 
deliverances, yet those scenes of war and confusion occa- 
sioned many trials and provings in various ways to the 
faithful." 2 

Journal, p. 15. 

Early Labors in the Ministry. 

Probably the first official public service to which Elias 
Hicks was ever assigned by the Society related to a matter 
growing out of the Revolutionary War. Under the new, 
meeting-house in New York was a large room, usually 
rented for commercial purposes. During the British occu- 
pation this room was appropriated as a storehouse for mili- 
tary goods. The rent was finally tendered by the military 
commissioner to some representative Friends, and by them 
accepted. This caused great concern to many members of 
the meeting, who felt that the Society of Friends could not 
consistently be the recipient of money from such a source. 
The matter came before the Yearly Meeting in 1779. The 
peace party felt that the rent money was blood money, and 
should be returned, but a vigorous minority sustained the 
recipients of this warlike revenue. It was finally decided to 
refer the matter to the Yearly Meeting of Pennsylvania for 
determination. A committee to carry the matter to Philadel- 
phia was appointed, of which Elias Hicks, then a young 
man of thirty-one, was a member. 

He made this service the occasion for some religious 
visits, which he, in company with his friend, John Willis, 
proceeded to make en route. The two Friends left home 
Ninth month 9, 1779. but took a roundabout route in 
order to visit the meetings involved in the concern of Elias. 
Instead of crossing over into New Jersey and going directly 
to Philadelphia, they went up the Hudson valley to a point 
above Newburgh, visiting meetings on both sides of the 
river. Their most northern point was the meeting at Marl- 



borough, in Ulster County, New York. They then turned 
to the southwest, and visited the meetings at Hardwick * and 
Kingwood, arriving at Philadelphia, Ninth month 25th. 
Elias attended all the sittings of the yearly meeting until 
Fourth-day, when he was taken ill, and was not able to be 
in attendance after that time. He was not present when 
the matter which called the committee to Philadelphia was 
considered. The decision, however, was that the money 
received by the New York meeting for rent paid by the 
British army should be returned. This was done by direc- 
tion of New York Yearly Meeting in 1780. It may be 
interesting to note that in 1779 the Yearly Meeting of 
Pennsylvania began with the Meeting of Ministers and 
Elders, Seventh-day, the 25th of Ninth month, and con- 
tinued until Second-day, the 4th of Tenth month, having 
practically been in session a week and two days. 2 

Following the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia, the 
meeting at Byberry was visited, as were those at Wrights- 
town, Plumstead and Buckingham, in Bucks County, Pa. 
On the return trip he was again at Hardwick, after which 
he passed to the eastern shore of the Hudson, and was at 
Nine Partners, Oswego and Oblong. Turning southward, 
the meetings at Peach Pond, Amawalk and Purchase were 
visited. From the latter point he journeyed homeward. 

This first religious journey of Elias Hicks lasted nine 
weeks, and in making it he traveled 860 miles. Forty years 
later, many of the places visited at this time became centers 
of the troublesome controversy which divided the Society 
in 1827 and 1828. 

Four years after the concern and service which took 

1 Hardwick was in Sussex County, New Jersey. It was the home 
meeting of Benjamin Lundy, the abolitionist. 

"From 1755 to 1798, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was held in 
Ninth month. 



Elias Hicks to Philadelphia in 1779, he undertook his 
second recorded religious visit. It was a comparatively 
short one, and took him to the Nine Partners neighbor* 
hood. He was absent from home on this trip eleven days, 
and traveled 170 miles. 

In 1784 Elias had a concern to visit neighborhoods in 
Long Island not Friendly in their character. He made one 
trip, and not feeling free of the obligations resting upon 
him, he made a second tour. During the two visits he rode 
about 200 miles. 

He seems to have had a period of quiet home service 
for about six years, or until 1790, when two somewhat ex- 
tended concerns were followed. The first took him to the 
meetings in the western part of Long Island, to New York 
City and Staten Island. This trip caused him to travel 150 
miles. The next visiting tour covered a wide extent of ter- 
ritory, and took him to eastern New York and Vermont. 
On this trip he was gone from home about four weeks, and 
traveled 591 miles. 

The year 1791 was more than usually active. Besides- 
another visit to those not Friends on Long Island, he made 
a general visit to Friends in New York Yearly Meeting. 
This visit took him to New Jersey, Connecticut, Massa- 
chusetts and up the Hudson valley as far as Easton and 
Saratoga. The Long Island visit consumed two weeks' 
time, and involved traveling 115 miles. On the general 
visit he was absent from home four months and eleven, 
days, and traveled 1500 miles. 

In 1792 a committee, of which Elias was a member, 
was appointed by the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and 
Elders to visit subordinate meetings of that branch of the 
Society. In company with these Friends every meeting 
of Ministers and Elders was visited, and a number of meet- 
ings for worship were attended. On this trip he was at 


Claremont, in Massachusetts, and desired to have an 
appointed meeting. It seemed that the person, not a 
Friend, who was to arrange for this meeting did not 
advertise it, for fear it would turn out a silent meeting, 
and he would be laughed to scorn. The attendance was 
very small, but otherwise satisfactory, so that the fearful 
person was very penitent, and desired that another meet- 
ing might be held. Elias says : "But w T e let him know that 
we were not at our own disposal ; and, as no way appeared 
open in our minds for such an appointment at present, we 
could not comply with his desire." 

An appointed meeting was also held near Dartmouth 
Colleg-e, but the students were hilarious, and the occasion 
very much disturbed. Still, the visitor hoped "the season 
was profitable to some present." 

In the following year, 1793, he had a concern to visit 
Friends in New England, during which he attended meet- 
ings in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine 
and the Massachusetts islands. On this trip he traveled by 
land or on water 2283 miles, and was absent about five 
months. It may be interesting to note that the traveling 
companion of Elias Hicks on the New England visit was 
James Mott, of Mamaroneck, N. Y., the maternal grand- 
father of James Mott, 3 the husband of Lucretia. 

The New England Yearly Meeting was attended at 
Newport. The meeting was pronounced a "dull time" by 
the visitor. This was occasioned in part, he thought, be- 
cause a very small number took upon "them the whole man- 
agement of the business, and thereby shutting up the way 
to others, and preventing the free circulation and spreading 
of the concern, in a proper manner, on the minds of Friends ; 

"Adam Mott, the father of Lucretia's husband, married Anne, 
daughter of James Mott. 


Elias Hicks to Philadelphia in 1779, he undertook his 
second recorded religious visit. It was a comparatively 
short one, and took him to the Nine Partners neighbor- 
hood. He was absent from home on this trip eleven days, 
and traveled 170 miles. 

In 1784 Elias had a concern to visit neighborhoods in 
Long Island not Friendly in their character. He made one 
trip, and not feeling free of the obligations resting upon 
him, he made a second tour. During- the two visits he rode 
about 200 miles. 

He seems to have had a period of quiet home service 
for about six years, or until 1790, when two somewhat ex- 
tended concerns were followed. The first took him to the 
meetings in the western part of Long Island, to New York 
City and Staten Island. This trip caused him to travel 150 
miles. The next visiting tour covered a wide extent of ter- 
ritory, and took him to eastern New York and Vermont. 
On this trip he was gone from home about four weeks, and 
traveled 591 miles. 

The year 1791 was more than usually active. Besides- 
another visit to those not Friends on Long Island, he made 
a general visit to Friends in New York Yearly Meeting. 
This visit took him to New Jersey, Connecticut, Massa- 
chusetts and up the Hudson valley as far as Easton and 
Saratoga. The Long Island visit consumed two weeks' 
time, and involved traveling 115 miles. On the general, 
visit he was absent from home four months and eleven, 
days, and traveled 1500 miles. 

In 1792 a committee, of which Elias was a member, 
was appointed by the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and 
Elders to visit subordinate meetings of that branch of the 
Society. In company with these Friends every meeting 
of Ministers and Elders was visited, and a number of meet- 
ings for worship were attended. On this trip he was at 


Claremont, in Massachusetts, and desired to have an 
appointed meeting. It seemed that the person, not a 
Friend, who was to arrange for this meeting did not 
advertise it, for fear it would turn out a silent meeting, 
and he would be laughed to scorn. The attendance was 
very small, but otherwise satisfactory, so that the fearful 
person was very penitent, and desired that another meet- 
ing might be held. Elias says : "But we let him know that 
we were not at our own disposal ; and, as no way appeared 
open in our minds for such an appointment at present, we 
could not comply with his desire." 

An appointed meeting was also held near Dartmouth 
College, but the students were hilarious, and the occasion 
very much disturbed. Still, the visitor hoped "the season 
was profitable to some present." 

In the following year, 1793, he had a concern to visit 
Friends in N ew E ngland, during which he attended meet- 
ings in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine 
and the Massachusetts islands. On this trip he traveled by 
land or on water 2283 miles, and was absent about five 
months. It may be interesting to note that the traveling 
companion of Elias Hicks on the New England visit was 
James Mott, of Mamaroneck, N. Y., the maternal grand- 
father of James Mott, 8 the husband of Lucretia. 

The New England Yearly Meeting was attended at 
Newport. The meeting was pronounced a "dull time'' by 
the visitor. This was occasioned in part, he thought, be- 
cause a very small number took upon "them the whole man- 
agement of the business, and thereby shutting up the way 
to others, and preventing the free circulation and spreading 
of the concern, in a proper manner, on the minds of Friends ; 

3 'Adam Mott, the father of Lucretia's husband, married Anne, 
daughter of James Mott. 


which I have very often found to be a very hurtful 

It seems that in those days the Meeting of Ministers 
and Elders exercised the functions of a visiting committee. 
Accordingly, the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders 
in 1795 appointed a committee to visit the quarterly and 
preparative meetings within the bounds of the Yearly Meet- 
ing. As a member of this committee, Elias performed his 
share of this round of service. On this visit a large num- 
ber of families were visited. 

The visits were made seasons of counsel and advice, 
especially in the ''select meetings." In these, he says, "My 
mind was led to communicate some things in a plain way, 
with a view of stirring them up to more diligence and cir- 
cumspection in their families, the better ordering and dis- 
ciplining of their children and household, and keeping 
things sweet and clean, agreeably to the simplicity of our 
holy profession; and I had peace in my labor." * 

Possibly his most extended visit up to that time was 
made in 1798. The trip was really begun Twelfth month 
12, 1797. It included meeting's in New Jersey, Pennsyl- 
vania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. On this trip he 
was from home live and one-half months, traveled 1600 
miles, and attended 143 meetings, nearly an average of one 
meeting a day. 

It was on this journey that he seriously began his 
public opposition to the institution of slavery. On the 12th 
of Third month, at a meeting at Elk Ridge, Md., he says: 

''Truth rose into dominion, and some present who 
were slave-holders were made sensible of their condition, 
and were much affected. I felt a hope to arise that the 
opportunity would prove profitable to some, and I left them 
with peace of mind. Since then I have been informed that 
a woman present at that session, who possessed a number 

* Journal, p. 57. 


of slaves, was so fully convinced, as to set them free, and 
not long afterwards joined in membership with Friends ; 
which is indeed cause of gratitude and thankfulness of 
heart, to the great and blessed Author of every mercy 
vouchsafed to the children of men." 5 

His personal correspondence on this trip yields some 
interesting description of experiences, from which we make 
the following extract, from a letter written to his wife 
from "Near Easton, Talbot County, Maryland, Second 
month 12, 1798": 

''Mary Berry, an ancient ministering Friend, that Job 
Scott makes mention of, was with us at the meeting. On 
Seventh-day we attended a meeting with the black people 
at Easton, which we had appointed some days before. 
There was a pretty large number attended, and the oppor- 
tunity favoured. Mary Berry observed she thought it was 
the most so, of any that had ever been with them. They 
were generally very solid, and many of them very tender. 
The white people complained much of some of them for 
their bad conduct, but according to my feeling, many of 
them appeared much higher in the kingdom than a great 
many of the whites. 

"Some days past w r e were with the people called 
Nicolites. They dress very plain, many of them mostly in 
white. The women wore white bonnets as large as thine, 
and in form like thy old-fashioned bonnet, straight and 
smooth on the top. In some of their meetings three or four 
of the foremost seats would be rilled with those who mostly 
had on these white bonnets. They have no backs to their 
seats, nor no rising seats in their meeting-houses. All sat 
on a level. They appear like a pretty honest, simple 
people. Profess our principles, and most of them, by their 
request, have of late been joined to Friends, and I think 
many of them are likely to become worthy members of 
Society, if the example of the backsliders among us do not 
stumble or turn them out of the right way. There was 
about 100 received by Friends here at their last monthly 
meeting, and are like for the first time to attend here next 
Fifth-day, which made it the more pressing on my mind 
to tarry over that day." 

"Journal, p. 67. 

Later Ministerial Labors. 

In the fall of 1799 a concern to visit meetings in 
Connecticut was followed. The trip also took in most of 
the meetings on the east bank of the Hudson as far north 
as Dutchess County. He was absent six weeks, and 
attended thirty meetings. 

Fourth month n, 1801, Elias and his traveling com- 
panion, Edmund Willis, started on a visit to "Friends in 
some parts of Jersey, Pennsylvania, and some places 
adjacent thereto." A number of meetings in New Jersey 
were visited on the way, the travelers arriving in Philadel- 
phia in time for the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders. 
All of the sessions of the yearly meeting were also attended. 
It does not appear that Elias Hicks had attended this yearly 
meeting since 1779. Practically all of the meetings in New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania were visited on this trip. It lasted 
three months and eigiiteen days, during which time the 
visitors traveled 1630 miles. 

The personal correspondence of Elias Hicks yields one 
interesting' letter written on this trip. It was written to his 
wife, and was dated "Exeter, 4th of Seventh month, 1801." 
We quote as follows : 

"We did not get to Lampeter so soon as I expected, 
as mentioned in my last, for when we left Yorktown last 
F'ourth-day evening, being late before we set out, detained 
in part by a shower of rain. It was night by the time we 
got over the river. We landed in a little town called Co- 
lumbia, where dwelt a few friends. Although being anxious 
to get forward, I had previous to coming there intended to 
pass them without a meeting, but found when there 1 could 

. 38 


not safely do it. Therefore we appointed a meeting there 
the next day, after which we rode to Lampeter, to William 
Brinton's, of whom, when I went westward, I got a fresh 
horse, and I left mine in his care. I have now my own 
again, bnt she has a very bad sore on her withers, some- 
what like is called a 'thistlelon,' but is better than she has 
been. It is now just six weeks and four days since we went 
from this place, which is about 48 miles from Philadelphia, 
since which time we have rode 813 miles and attended 35 
meetings. Much of the way in this tour has been rugged, 
mountainous and rocky, and had it not been for the best 
attendant companion, peace of mind flowing from a com- 
pliance with and performance of manifested duty, the jour- 
ney would have been tedious and irksome. But we passed 
pretty cheerfully on, viewing with an attentive eye the 
wonderful works of that boundless wisdom and power (by 
which the worlds were framed) and which are only circum- 
scribed within the limits of their own innate excellency. 
Here we beheld all nature almost with its varied and almost 
endless diversifications. 

"Tremendous precipices, rocks and mountains, creeks 
and rivers, intersecting each other, all clothed in their 
natural productions ; the tall pines and sturdy oaks tower- 
ing their exalted heads above the clouds, interspersed with 
beautiful lawns and glades ; together with the almost in- 
numerable vegetable inhabitants, all blooming forth the 
beauties of the spring ; the fields arable, clothed in rich 
pastures of varied kinds, wafted over the highways their 
balmy sweets, and the fallow grounds overspread with rich 
grain, mostly in golden wheat, to a profusion beyond any- 
thing of the kind my eyes ever before beheld, insomuch that 
the sensible traveler, look which way he would, could 
scarcely help feeling his mind continually inflamed and 
inspired with humble gratitude and reverent thankfulness 
to the great and bountiful author of all those multiplied 

This letter constitutes one of the few instances where 
Elias Hicks referred to experiences on the road, not directly 
connected with his ministerial duty. The reference to 
Columbia, and his original intention to pass by without a 
meeting, with its statement he "could not safely do it," is 
characteristic. Manifestly, he uses the word "safely" in a 


spiritual sense. The call to minister there was too certain 
to be put aside for mere personal inclination and comfort. 

The reference to his horse contains more than a pass- 
ing interest. Probably many other cases occurred during 
his visits when "borrowing" a horse was necessary, while 
his own was recuperating. It was a slow way to travel, 
from our standpoint, yet it had its advantages. New 
acquaintances, if not friendships, were made as the travelers 
journeyed and were entertained on the road. 

On the 20th of Ninth month, 1803, Elias Hicks, with 
Daniel Titus as a traveling companion, started on a visit 
to Friends in Upper Canada, and those resident in the part 
of the New York Yearly Meeting located in the Hudson 
and Mohawk valleys. When the travelers had been from 
home a little less than a month, Elias wrote to his wife, 
from Kingston, a letter of more than ordinary interest, be- 
cause of its descriptive quality. It describes some of the 
difficulties, not to say dangers, of the traveling Friend 
before the days of railroads. We quote the bulk of the 
letter, which was dated Tenth month, 16, 1803: 

"We arrived here the 3d instant at the house of Joseph 
Ferris about 3 o'clock at night, having rode the preceding 
day from Samuel Brown's at Black River, where I dated 
my last. We traveled by land and water in this day's 
journey about forty-five miles. Very bad traveling over 
logs and mudholes, crossing two ferries on our way, each 
four or five miles wide, with an island between called Long 
Island. About six miles across we were in the middle 
thereof, the darkest time in the night, when we were under 
the necessity of getting off our horses several times to feel 
for the horses' tracks in order to know whether we were 
in the path or not, as we were not able to see the path, 
nor one another at times, if more than five or six feet apart. 
Some of our company began to fear we should be under 
the necessity of lying in the woods all night. However, 
we were favored to get well through, and crossed the last 
ferry about midnight and after. Landed safely on Kingston 
shore about 2 o'clock, all well. Since which we have 


attended ten meetings, three of them preparative meetings, 
the rest mostly among other people. We just now, this 
evening, returned from the last held at the house of John 
Everit, about four miles west of Kingston. We held one 
yesterday in the town of Kingston in their Court House. 
It was the first Friends' meeting ever held in that place. 
The principal inhabitants generally attended, and we have 
thankfully to acknowledge that the shepherd of Israel in 
whom was our trust, made bare his arm for our help, set- 
ting home the testimony he gave us to the states of the 
people, thereby manifesting that he had not left himself 
without a witness in their hearts, as all appeared to yield 
their assent to the truths delivered, which has generally 
been the case, in every place where our lots have been 

"We expect to-morrow to return on our way to Adol- 
phustown, taking some meetings in our way thither, among- 
those not of our Society, but so as to be there ready po 
attend Friends' monthly that is held next Fifth-day, after 
which we have some prospect of being at liberty to return 
on our way back, into our own State. 

"Having thus given thee a short account of our jour- 
ney, I may salute thee in the fresh feelings of endeared 
affection, and strength of gospel love, in which fervent de- 
sires are felt for thy preservation, and that of our dear 
children, and that you may all so act and so walk, as to be 
a comfort and strength to each other, and feel an evidence 
in yourselves that the Lord is your friend ; for you are my 
friend (said the blessed redeemer) if you do whatever I 
command you." 

For the three following years there is no record of 
special activity, but in 1806 a somewhat extended visit was 
made to Friends in the State of New York. He was absent 
from home nearly two months, traveled over 1000 miles, 
attended three quarterly, seventeen monthly, sixteen pre- 
parative, and forty meetings for worship. 

The years following, including 18 12, were spent either' 
at home or in short, semi-occasional visits, mostly within the 
bounds of his own yearly meeting. During this period a 
visit to Canada Half- Yearly Meeting was made. 



The first half of 1813 he was busy in his business and 
domestic concerns, really preparing for a religious journey, 
which he began on the 8th of Fifth month. He passed 
through New Jersey on the way, attending meetings in that 
State, either regular or by appointment, arriving in Phila- 
delphia in about two weeks. Several meetings in the 
vicinity of that city were attended, whence he passed into 
Delaware and Maryland. His steps were retraced through 
New Jersey, when he was homeward bound. 

From 1813 to 1816 we find the gospel labors of Elias 
Hicks almost entirely confined to his own yearly meeting. 
This round of service did not take him farther from home 
than Dutchess County. During this period we find him 
repeatedly confessing indisposition and bodily ailment, 
which may have accounted for the fewness and moderate- 
ness of his religious visits. 

In First month, 18 16, we find him under a concern to 
visit Friends in New England. He had as his traveling 
companion on this journey his friend and kinsman, Isaac 
Hicks, of Westbury. During this trip practically all of the 
meetings in New England were visited. It kept him from 
home about three months, and caused him to travel upward 
of 1000 miles. He attended fifty-nine particular, three 
monthly and two quarterly meetings. 

During the balance of 1816 and part of the year 18 ij 9 
service was principally confined to the limits of Westbury 
Quarterly Meeting. But it was in no sense a period of 
idleness. Many visits were made to meetings. In Eighth 
month of the latter year, in company with his son-in-law. 
Valentine Hicks, a visit was made to some of the meetings 
attached to Philadelphia and Baltimore Yearly Meetings. 
Many meetings in New jersey and Pennsylvania received a 
visit at this time. He went as far south as Loudon 
County, Va., taking meetings en route, both going and 


coming. He must have traveled not less than iooo miles 
on this trip. 

Visits near at home, and one to some parts of New 
York Yearly Meeting, occupied all his time during the 
year 1818. 

In 18 1 9 a general visit to Friends in his own yearly 
meeting engaged his attention. He went to the Canadian 
border. This trip was a season of extended service and 
deep exercise. On this journey he traveled 1084 miles, was 
absent from home fourteen weeks, and attended seventy- 
three meetings for worship, three quarterly meetings and 
four monthly meetings. 

The years from 18 19 to 1823, inclusive, were particu- 
larly active. Elias Hicks was seventy-one in the former 
year. The real stormy period of his life was approaching 
in the shape of the unfortunate misunderstanding and bit- 
terness which divided the Society. It scarcely demands 
more than passing mention here, as later on we shall give 
deserved prominence to the "separation" period. 

He started on the Ohio trip Eighth month 17, 1819, 
taking northern and central Pennsylvania on his route. He 
arrived in Mt. Pleasant in time for Ohio Yearly Meeting", 
which seems to have been a most satisfactory occasion, 
with no signs of the storm that broke over the same meet- 
ing a few years later. Elias himself says : "It was thought, 
I believe, by Friends, to have been the most favored yearly 
meeting they had had since its institution, and was worthy of 
grateful remembrance.'' 1 During this visit many appointed, 
meetings were held, besides regular meetings for worship. 
On the homeward journey. Friends in the Shenandoah 
Valley, in Virginia, and in parts of Maryland were visited. 

'Journal, p. 377. 


On this trip he journeyed 1200 miles, was from home three 
months, and attended eighty-seven meetings. 

In 1820 a visit was made to Farmington and Duanes- 
burg Quarterly Meetings, and in the summer of 1822 he 
visited Friends in some parts of Philadelphia Yearly Meet- 
ing. On this trip the Baltimore Yearly Meeting was also 
visited, as were some of the particular meetings in Mary- 
land. He did not reach Philadelphia on the return journey 
until the early part of Twelfth month. While his Journal 
is singularly silent about the matter, it must have been on 
this visit that he encountered his first public opposition 
as a minister. But, with few exceptions, the Journal 
ignores the whole unpleasantness. 

In 1824 he again attended Baltimore Yearly Meeting. 
The only comment on this trip is the following: "I think it 
was, in its several sittings, one of the most satisfactory 
yearly meetings I have ever attended, and the business was 
conducted in much harmony and brotherly love." 2 

On the homeward trip he stopped in Philadelphia. 
Here he suffered a severe illness. Of this detention at that 
time he says : "I lodged at the house of my kind friend, 
Samuel R. Fisher, who, with his worthy children, extended 
to me the most affectionate care and attention ; and I had 
also the kind sympathy of a large portion of Friends in 
that city." 3 The exception contained in this sentence is 
the only intimation that all was not unity and harmony 
among Friends in the "City of Brotherly Love." 

His visits in 1825 were confined to the meeting's on 
Long Island and those in central New York. 

In the latter part of the following year he secured a 

"Journal, p. 396. 
3 Journal, p. 396. 


minute to visit meetings composing Concord and Southern 
Quarterly Meetings, within the bounds of Philadelphia 
Yearly Meeting. In passing through Philadelphia he 
attended Green Street and Mulberry Street Meetings. This 
was within a few months of the division of 1827 ' m Phila- 
delphia Yearly Meeting, but the matter is not mentioned 
in the Journal. 

Religious Journeys in 1828. 

On the 20th of Third month, 1828, Elias Hicks laid 
before Jericho Monthly Meeting a concern he had to make 
"a religious visit in the love of the gospel, to Friends and 
others in some parts of our own yearly meeting, and in the 
compass of the Yearly Meetings of Philadelphia, Baltimore, 
Ohio, Indiana, and a few meetings in Virginia." A minute 
embodying this concern was granted him, the same receiv- 
ing the indorsement of Westbury Quarterly Meeting, 
Fourth month 24th. Between this period and the middle 
of Sixth month he made a visit to Dutchess County, where 
the experience with Ann Jones and her husband took place, 
which will be dealt with in a separate chapter. He also 
attended New York Yearly Meeting", when he saw and was 
a part of the "separation" trouble which culminated at that 
time. The Journal, however, makes no reference either to 
the Dutchess County matter or to the division in the yearly 
meeting. These silences in the Journal are hard to under- 
stand. Undoubtedly, the troubles of the period were not 
pleasant matters of record, yet one wishes that a fuller and 
more detailed statement regarding the whole matter might 
be had from Elias Hicks than is contained in the meager 
references in his personal correspondence, or his published 

On the 14th of Sixth month he started on the western 
and southern journey, with his friend, Jesse Merritt, as his 
traveling companion. Elias was then a few months past 

The two Friends halted at points in New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania, holding* meetings as the way opened. Service 



continued in Pennsylvania, considerably in the western part, 
passing from Pittsburg into Ohio. 

At Westland Monthly Meeting, in Pennsylvania, his 
first acknowledgment of opposition is observed. He says : 
"A Friend from abroad attended this meeting, and after I 
sat down he rose and made opposition, which greatly dis- 
turbed the meeting." x 

When he arrived at Brownsville, his fame had pre- 
ceded him. He makes this reference to the experience 
there : 

"Here we put up again with our kind friends Jesse and 
Edith Townsend, where we had the company of many 
Friends, and many of the inhabitants of the town not mem- 
bers of our Society, also came in to see us ; as the un- 
founded reports of those who style themselves Orthodox, 
having been generally spread over the country, it created 
such a great excitement in the minds of the people at large, 
that multitudes flocked to the meetings where we were, to 
hear for themselves ; and many came to see us, and acknowl- 
edged their satisfaction. 

"At this place we again fell in with the Friend from 
abroad, who attended the meeting with us ; he rose in 
the early part of the meeting, and continued his com- 
munication so long that a number left the meeting, by 
which it became very much unsettled : however, when he 
sat down I felt an opening to stand up ; and the people 
returned and crowded into the house, and those that could 
not get in stood about the doors and windows, and a 
precious solemnity soon spread over the meeting, which has 
been the case in every meeting, where our opposers did 
not make disturbance by their disorderly conduct. The 
meeting closed in a quiet and orderly manner, and I was 
very thankful for the favour." 2 

Following his experience at Brownsville, Elias re- 
turned to Westland, attending the meeting of ministers and 
elders, and the meeting for worship. The person before 

1 Thomas Shillitoe. 

2 Journal, p. 404. 


mentioned, who may be called the "disturbing Friend," was 
again in evidence, this time reinforced by a "companion." 
At the instigation of Friends, the elders and overseers had 
"an opportunity" with the disturbers, but with small suc- 
cess. The same trouble was repeated on First-day. On 
this occasion the opposition was vigorous and virulent. In 
the midst of the second opportunity of the opposing Friend 
trie audience melted away, leaving him literally without 

From Westland the journey was continued to Pitts- 
burg, where an appointed meeting was held. Salem, Ohio, 
was the next point visited, where the quarterly meeting was 
attended. On First-day a large company, estimated at 
two thousand, g-athered. The occasion was in every way 
satisfactory. Visits to different meetings continued. There 
was manifest opposition at New Garden, Springfield, 
Goshen and Marlborough. At Smithfield the venerable 
preacher was quite indisposed. The meeting-house was 
closed ag'ainst him, by "those called Orthodox," as Elias 
defined them. 

One of the objective points on this trip was Mt. Pleas- 
ant, Ohio, where the yearly meeting of 1828 was held. 
He arrived in time to attend the mid-week meeting at that 
place, a week preceding the yearly meeting. A large 
attendance was reported, many being present who were not 
members of the Society. The signs of trouble had preceded 
the distinguished visitor, the "world's people" having a 
phenomenal curiosity regarding a possible war among the 
peaceable Quakers. There was pronounced antagonism 
manifested in this mid-week meeting, described as "a long, 
/tedious communication from a minister among those called 
Orthodox, who, after I sat down, publicly opposed and 
endeavored to lay waste what I had said." 3 

'Journal, p. 411. 


During' the following days meetings were attended at 
Short Creek, Harrisville, West Grove, Concord, St. Clairs- 
ville, Plainfield, Wrightstown and Stillwater. There was no 
recorded disturbance until he returned to Mt. Pleasant the 
6th of Ninth month, the date of the gathering of the 
Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders. When the meet- 
ing-house was reached the gate to the yard was guarded, 
"by a number of men of the opposing party," who refused 
entrance to those who were in sympathy with Elias Hicks. 
They proceeded to hold their meeting in the open air. Sub- 
sequent meetings were held in a school-house and in a 
private house, the home of Israel French. 

First-day, Ninth month 7th, Mt. Pleasant Meeting was 
attended in the forenoon, and Short Creek Meeting in the 
afternoon. The meeting at Mt. Pleasant was what might 
be called stormy. Elisha Bates and Ann Braithwaite spoke 
in opposition, after Elias Hicks had spoken. In a letter 
dated Ninth month 10th, written to his son-in-law, Valen- 
tine Hicks, Elias says that these Friends "detained the 
meeting two hours or more, opposing and railing against 
what I had said, until the people were wearied and much 
disgusted." No trouble was experienced at Short Creek, 
although experiences similar to those of the morning 
occurred at Mt. Pleasant in the afternoon. Amos Peaslee, 
of Woodbury. N. J., was the center of opposition at that 
time. He was opposed while on his feet addressing the 

In connection with this yearly meeting a number of 
Friends were arrested on charges of trespass and inducing 
a riot, and taken to court. All were members of Ohio 
Yearly Meeting, except Halliday Jackson, 4 of Darby, Pa. 

4 Halliday Jackson was father of John Jackson, the well-known 
educator, principal of Sharon Hill School. Halliday was with the 
Seneca Indians in New York State for two years, as a teacher under 
the. care of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. 7 


For some reason Elias escaped arrest, although in the letter 
referred to he said: "I have been expecting for several 
days past to have a writ of trespass served against me by 
the sheriff, for going on their meeting-house grounds, by 
which I may be taken twenty miles or more to appear be- 
fore the judge, as a number of Friends already have been, 
although my mind is quiet regarding the event." 

While at Mt. Pleasant the small monthly meeting of 
Orthodox Friends at his home sent a letter "officially" com- 
manding Elias to cease his religious visits. In regard to 
this matter, and the general situation in Ohio, Elias wrote 
to Valentine Hicks : "The Orthodox in this yearly meeting 
are, if possible, tenfold more violent than in any other part 
of the Society. Gideon Seaman, and his associates in the 
little upstart Monthly Meeting of Westbury and Jericho, 5 
have sent a very peremptory order for me to return imme- 
diately home, and not proceed any further on my religious 
visit, by which they trample the authority of our quarterly 
and monthly meeting under foot." 

Following the Ohio Yearly Meeting, Flushing, 6 in that 
State, was visited, and the First-day meeting attended. 
Elias was met before he reached the meeting-house by 
Orthodox Friends, who insisted that he should not inter- 
rupt the meeting. He entered the house,, but before the 
meeting was fairly settled, Charles Osborn, an Orthodox 
Friend, appeared in prayer, and continued for an hour ; and 
then preached for another hour. Elias thus refers to this 
occurrence : 

"However, when he sat down, although the meeting 
was much wearied with his lone and tedious communica- 

5 The Monthly Meeting of Westbury and Jericho was made up 
of a small number of Orthodox Friends, representing only a small 
minority of the meeting of which Elias Hicks was a member. 

"Flushing is about 18 miles from Mt. Pleasant. A Wilburite 
meeting is the crrly Friendly gathering now in the place. 


tions, I felt the necessity of standing up and addressing 
the people, which brought a precious solemnity over the 
meeting ; but as soon as I sat down, he rose again to con- 
tradict, and tried to lay waste my communication, by 
asserting- that I had not the unity of my friends at home ; 
which being untrue, I therefore informed the meeting that 
I had certificates with me to prove the incorrectness of his 
assertions, which I then produced, but he and his party 
would not stay to hear them, but in a disorderly manner 
arose and left the meeting ; but the people generally stayed 
and heard them read, to their general satisfaction." 7 

Meetings were subsequently attended at different points 
in Ohio, generally without disturbance, until Springfield 
was reached the 226. of Ninth month. Here the Orthodox 
shut the meeting-house and guarded the doors. Elias held 
his meeting under some trees nearby. He says: "It was 
a precious season, wherein the Lord's power and love were 
exalted over all opposition." 8 

Preceding Indiana Yearly Meeting, he was twice at 
Wilmington, Ohio, and attended monthly meeting at Center, 
the first held since the "separation." The attendance was 
large, many more than the house would accommodate. 
Elias says: "The Lord, our never-failing helper, manifested 
his presence, solemnizing the assembly and opening the 
minds of the people to receive the word preached ; breaking- 
down all opposition, and humbling and contriting the 
assembly in a very general manner." 9 

Ninth month 27th, Indiana Yearly Meeting convened 
at Waynesville, Ohio. It should be noted that the "sep- 
aration" in most, of the meetings comprising this yearly 
meeting had been accomplished in 1827, so that the gather- 

7 Journal, p. 414. 

8 Journal, p. 416. 

9 Journal, p. 415. 


ing in 1828 was in substantial unity with the Friends in 
sympathy with Elias Hicks. A letter written to Valentine 
and Abigail Hicks, dated Waynesville, Tenth month 3, 
1828, contains some interesting information concerning the 
experience of the venerable preacher. He says : 

"The Yearly Meeting here would have been very large, 
had there not been a failure of the information of the con- 
clusion for holding it here, reaching divers of the Quarterly 
Meetings, by which they were prevented from attending. 
The meeting was very orderly conducted, and the business 
managed in much harmony and condescension. The public 
meetings have been very large, favoured seasons, and all the 
meetings we have attended in our passing along have been 
generally very large. Seldom any houses were found large 
enough to contain the people. Often hundreds were under 
the necessity of standing out doors. Many of the people 
without came a great way to be at our meeting. Some ten, 
some twenty, and some thirty miles, and I have been in- 
formed since I have been here that the people in a town 
120 miles below Cincinnati have given it in charge to 
Friends of that place to inform them when we c"ame there, 
as a steam boat plies between the two places. The excite- 
ment is so great among the people by the false rumors 
circulated by the Orthodox, that they spare no pains to get 
an opportunity to be with us, and those who have attended 
from distant parts, informing the people the satisfaction 
they have had in being with us, in which they have found 
that the reports spread among them were generally false, 
it has increased the excitement in others to see for them- 

The yearly meeting over, Elias attended meetings en 
route to Richmond, Ind., and was at the mid-week meeting 
in that place, Tenth month 8th. Several other meetings 
were attended, the only disturbance reported being at 
Orange, where the Orthodox "hurt the meeting very con- 
siderably." On the 19th he was in Cincinnati, and attended 
the regular meeting in the morning, and a large appointed 
meeting in the court-house in the afternoon. Both were 
pronounced "highly favored seasons." 

First-day, the 26th, he was at Fairfield, where the 


Orthodox revived the story that he was traveling without 
a minute. While Elias was speaking, the Orthodox left 
the meeting in a body. He remarks : "But Friends and 
others kept their seats, and we had a very solemn close, and 
great brokenness and contrition were manifest among the 
people: and to do away with the false report spread by the 
Orthodox, I had my certificates read, which gave full satis- 
faction to the assembly." 10 

Elias then journeyed to Wheeling, his face being 
turned homeward. He held an appointed meeting in that 
city. It is suggestive that, notwithstanding the theological 
odium under which he was supposed to rest, the meeting 
was held in the Methodist church, which had been kindly 
offered for the purpose. This would seem to indicate that 
the Methodists had not yet taken any sides in the quarrel 
which had divided the Soicety of Friends. 

After visiting Redstone Quarterly Meeting, in western 
Pennsylvania, he visited the meetings in the Shenandoah 
and Loudon valleys, in Virginia. He was at Alexandria 
and Washington, and on First-day, Eleventh month 16th, 
was at Sandy Spring, Aid. The meetings about Baltimore 
and in Harford and Cecil counties were visited. He 
reached West Grove in Pennsylvania, Twelfth month ist, 
and encountered some trouble, as he found that the meeting- 
house had been closed against him. A large crowd assem- 
bled, better councils prevailed, and the house was opened. 
The audience was beyond the capacity of the house, and the 
meeting in every way satisfactory. 

Upon his arrival at West Grove, Twelfth month ist, 
he sent a letter to his son-in-law and daughter, Royal and 
Martha Aldrich. In this letter he gives a brief account of 
his experiences in Maryland and Lancaster County. He 
says: "The aforesaid meetings were very large and highly 

10 Journal, p. 419. 


favored, generally made up of every description of people, 
high and low, rich and poor, Romanists, and generally some 
of every profession of Protestants known in our country. 
Generally all went away fully satisfied as to those evil 
reports that have been spread over the country concerning 
me, and many announced the abhorrence they had of those 
false and slanderous reports." 

It appears from this letter that the traveling companion 
of Elias, Jesse Merritt, was homesick, and hoped that some 
other Friend would come from Long Island to take his place 
for the rest of the trip. In case such a shift was made, 
Elias requested that whoever came 4 'might bring with him 
my best winter tight-bodied coat, and two thicker neck- 
cloths, as those I have are rather thin. I got a new great- 
coat in Alexandria, and shall not need any other." 

From a letter written to his wife from West Chester, 
Twelfth month 7th, we learn that John Hicks had arrived 
to take the place of Jesse Merritt, and he seized that oppor- 
tunity to send a letter home. As the two Friends had been 
away from home nearly six months, it is not strange that 
the companion on this journey desired to return. He could 
scarcely have been under the deep and absorbing religious 
concern which was felt by his elder brother in the truth. 
The nature of this obligation is revealed in the letter last 
noted. In this epistle to his wife, Elias says: 

"Abigail's letter informs of the infirm state of V. and 
Caroline, which excites near-feeling and sympathy with 
them, and which would induce me to return home imme- 
diately if I was set at liberty from my religious obligations. 
but as that is not the case, I can only recommend them to 
the preserving care and compassionate regard of our 
Heavenly Father, whose mercy is over all his works and 
does not suffer a sparrow to fall without his notice. And 
as we become resigned to his heavenly disposals, he will 
cause all things to work together for good, to his truly 
devoted children. Therefore, let all trust in him, for in the 
Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." 


The meetings in Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey were pretty generally attended, and with no 
reported disturbance. First-day, the 21st of Twelfth 
month, Elias attended the meeting at Cherry Street in the 
morning and Green Street in the afternoon, and on the 28th 
he repeated that experience. On both occasions "hundreds 
more assembled than the houses could contain." X1 In the 
suburban meetings in Delaware and Bucks Counties, "the 
houses were generally too small to contain the people ; many 
had to stand out-of-doors for want of room; nevertheless, 
the people behaved orderly and the Lord was felt to preside, 
solemnizing those crowded assemblies, in all of which my 
mind was opened, and ability afforded, to preach the gospel 
to the people in the demonstration of the spirit and with 
power, and many hearts were broken and contrited and went 
away rejoicing, under thankful sense of the unmerited 
favor." 12 

The great crowds which flocked to hear Elias Hicks 
after the "separation" were probably called together partly 
because of curiosity on their part, and to a considerable 
extent because of his continued popularity as a minister, in 
spite of the trouble which had come to the Society. That 
he was appreciative of what we would now call the adver- 
tising quality of those who antagonized him, and became 
his theological and personal enemies, is well attested. In 
summing up his conclusions regarding the long religious 
visit now under review, he said : "My opposing brethren 
had, by their public opposition and erroneous reports, 
created such excitement in the minds of the people generally 
of every profession, that it induced multitudes to assemble 
to hear for themselves, and they generally went away satis- 

Journal, p. 423. 

Journal, p. 423. 


fied and comforted/' i3 Undoubtedly, the multitudes who 
heard Elias Hicks preach in 1828 went away wondering 
what all the trouble was about. 

Elias and his traveling companion reached home about 
the middle of First month, 1829. This was one of the 
longest and most extended religious journeys ever made 
by him, and was completed within two months of his 
eighty-first year. On the journey he traveled nearly 2400 
miles, and was absent seven months and ten days. 

Going carefully over the various journeys of this well- 
known minister, a conservative estimate will show that he 
traveled in the aggregate not less than forty thousand miles 
during his long life of public service. He was probably 
the best-known minister in the Society of Friends in his 
time. His circle of personal friends was large, and ex- 
tended over all the yearly meetings. It is necessary to 
keep these facts in mind, in order to understand how the 
major portion of Friends at that time made his cause their 
own when the rupture came. 

The majority of Friends at that time were content as 
to preaching, with words that seemed to be full of spirit 
and life, and this undoubtedly was characteristic of the 
preaching of Elias Hicks. To attempt to destroy the stand- 
ing in the Society of a man of such character and equipment 
was certain to break something other than the man attacked. 
This will become more apparent as we consider more closely 
the relation of Elias Hicks to the controversy with which 
his name and person were linked, and with the trouble in 
the Society of Friends, for which, either justly or other- 
wise, he was made the scapegoat. 

13 Journal, p. 423. 


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Ideas About the Ministry. 

To construct from the published deliverances, and 
personal correspondence of Elias Hicks, a statement of his 
theory and practice touching the ministry is desirable if not 
easy. That he considered public religious exercise an ex- 
alted function, if of the right sort, and emanating from the 
Divine source, is abundantly evidenced in all he said and 
wrote. The call to particular and general service, whether 
in his home meeting for worship, or in connection with his 
extended religious journeys, he believed came directly from 
the Divine Spirit. 

One instance is related, which possibly as clearly as 
anything, illustrates his feeling regarding the ministry, and 
the relationship of the Infinite to the minister. In the fall 
of 1 78 1, when his service in the ministry had been ac- 
knowledged about three years, he was very ill with a fever, 
which lasted for several months. In the most severe period 
of this indisposition he tells us that "a prospect opened to 
my mind to pay a religious visit to some parts of our island 
where no Friends lived, and among a people, who, from 
acquaintance I had with them, were more likely to mock 
than receive me." He opposed the call, and argued against 
it, only to see the disease daily reducing his bodily and men- 
tal strength. He became convinced that in yielding to this 
call lay his only hope of recovery, and had he not done so 
his life would have gone out. Having fully recovered, the 
intimated service was performed the following summer. 

He seemed to treat his ministry as something in a 
measure apart from his personality. He repeatedly referred 

57 8 


to his own ministerial labors in a way not unlike that in- 
dulged in by his most ardent admirers. Yet this was always 
accompanied with acknowledgment of the Divine enlighten- 
ing and assistance. On the 226. of Tenth month, 1779, he 
held an appointed meeting in Hartford, Conn., a thousand 
persons being present. Of this meeting he said : "The 
Lord, in whom we trust, was graciously near, and furnished 
us with ability to conduct the meeting to the satisfaction 
and peace of our own minds ; and to the edification of many 
present, and general satisfaction to the assembly." 1 

Speaking of a meeting at Market Street, Philadelphia, 
in Fourth month, 1801, he remarked: "My spirit was set 
at liberty, and .ability afforded to divide the word among 
them, according to their varied conditions, in a large, search- 
ing and effectual testimony; whereby a holy solemnity was 
witnessed to spread over the meeting, to the great rejoicing 
of the honest-hearted." 2 

At a meeting at Goose Creek, Virginia, the 22d of 
Third month, 1797, he tells us : "After a considerable time 
of silent labor, in deep baptism with the suffering seed, my 
mouth was opened in a clear, full testimony, directed to 
the states of those present. And many were brought under 
the influence of that power which 'cut Rahab, and wounded 
the dragon.' " 3 

In the acknowledgment of the Divine influence and 
favor, Elias Hicks had a collection of phrases which he 
repeatedly used. "It was the Lord's doings, and marvelous 
in our eyes,'' was a common expression. He repeatedly 
said : "Our sufficiency was not of ourselves, but of God ; 
and that the Lord was our strength from day to clay, who 

1 Journal, p. 85. 

2 Journal, p. 89. 
' Journal, p. 69. 


is over all blessed forever." One of his favorite ex- 
pressions was : "To the Lord be all the praise, nothing due 
to man." 

Trite and pointed Scripture quotations were always at 
command, and they .were effectively employed, both in 
speaking and writing. It will be noted by the reader that 
not a few of the expressions used by Elias Hicks sound 
like the phrases coined by George Fox. 

That Elias Hicks believed in the plenary inspiration of 
the preacher is well attested. His testimony was constantly 
against the "letter," with little recognition that the letter 
could ever contain the spirit. Here is a sample exhortation 
to ministers : 

"And it is a great thing when ministers keep in re- 
membrance that necessary caution of the divine Master, not 
to premediate what they shall say ; but carefully to wait 
in the nothingness and emptiness of self, that what they 
speak may be only what the Holy Spirit speaketh in them ; 
then will they not only speak the truth, but the truth, ac- 
companied with power, and thereby profit the hearers." 4 

He admonished Friends in meeting, and especially 
ministers, to "get inward, and wait in their proper gifts." 
The evident theory was that by waiting, and possibly wrest- 
ling with the manifestation it was possible to tell whether 
it was from below or above. 

Still, there was not an entire absence of the human 
and even the rational in Elias Hicks' theory of the minis- 
try as it worked out in practice. He had evidently dis- 
covered the psychological side of public speaking to the 
extent of recognizing that even the preacher was influenced 
by his audience. 

When he was in Philadelphia in 18 16, before the 

Journal, p. 296. 


troubled times had arrived, he tells us that "it proved a 
hard trying season: one of them [minister^] was exercised 
in public testimony, and although she appeared to labor fer- 
vently, yet but little life was felt to arise during the meeting. 
This makes the work hard for the poor exercised ministers, 
who feel the necessity publicly to advocate the cause of truth 
and righteousness, and yet obtain but little relief, by reason 
of the deadness and indifference of those to whom they are 
constrained to minister. I found it my place to sit silent 
and suffer with the seed." 5 

In a personal letter, while on one of his visits, Elias 
Hicks gave the following impression of the meeting and the 
ministry : 

"To-day was the quarterly meeting of discipline. It 
was large, and I think in the main a favored instructive 
season, although considerably hurt by a pretty long, tedious 
communication, not sufficiently clothed with life tp make 
it either comfortable or useful. So it is, the Society is in 
such a mixed and unstable state, and many who presume 
to be teachers in it, are so far from keeping on the original 
foundation, the light and spirit of truth, and so built up in 
mere tradition, that I fear a very great portion of the 
ministry among us, is doing more harm than good, and 
leading back to the weak and beggarly elements, to which 
they seem desirous to be again in bondage." 6 

This is not the only case of his measuring the general 
effect of the ministry. In Seventh month, 1815, he attended 
Westbury Quarterly Meeting, and of its experiences he 
wrote as follows : 

"Was the parting meeting held for public worship. It 
was a large crowded meeting, but was somewhat hurt in 
the forepart, by the appearance of one young in the ministry 
standing too long, and manifesting too much animation : 

6 Journal, p. 271. 

"Letter to his wife, dated Purchase, N. Y., Tenth month 29, 1823. 


Yet, I believed, he was under the preparing hand, fitting 
for service in the Church, if he only keeps low and humble, 
and does not aspire above his gift, into the animation of the 
creature. For there is great danger, if such are not deeply 
watchful, of the transformer getting in and raising the mind 
into too much creaturely zeal, and warmth of the animal 
spirit, whereby they may be deceived, and attribute that 
to the divine power, which only arises from a heated imagi- 
nation, and the natural warmth of their own spirits ; and 
so mar the work of the divine spirit on their minds, run 
before their gift and lose it, or have it taken away from 
them. They thereby fall into the condition of some for- 
merly, as mentioned by the prophet, who, in their crea- 
turely zeal, kindle a fire of their own, and walk in the light 
thereof; but these, in the end, have to lie down in sorrow." 7 

Of the same quarterly meeting, held in Fourth month 
in the following year, in New York, Elias wrote : "It was 
for the most part a favored season, but would have been 
more so, had not some in the ministry quite exceeded the 
mark by unnecessary communication. For very great care 
ought to rest on the minds of ministers, lest they become 
burthensome, and take away the life from the meeting, and 
bring over it a gloom of death and darkness, that may be 
sensibly felt." 8 

His feeling regarding his own particular labor in the 
ministry is almost pathetically expressed as follows : 

"Meetings are generally large and well-attended, al- 
though in the midst of harvest. I have continual cause for 
deep humility and thankfulness of heart under a daily sense 
of the continued mercy of the Shepherd of Israel, who when 
he puts his servants forth, goes before them, and points out 
the way, when to them all seems shut up in darkness. 
This has been abundantly my lot from day to day, insomuch 
that the saying of the prophet has been verified in my ex- 
perience, that none are so blind as the Lord's servants, nor 

Journal, p. 234. 
Journal, p. 268. 


deaf as his messengers. As generally when I first enter 
meetings I feel like one, both dumb and deaf, and see noth- 
ing but my own impotence. Nevertheless as my whole 
trust and confidence is in the never-failing arm of divine 
sufficiency, although I am thus emptied, I am not cast 
down, neither has a murmuring thought been permitted to 
enter, but in faith and patience, have had to inherit the 
promise, as made to Israel formerly by the prophet. 'I will 
never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' This my dear, I trust 
will be the happy lot of all those who sincerely trust in the 
Lord, and do not cast away their confidence, nor lean to 
their own understanding." 9 

Occasionally in his ministry Elias Hicks did what in 
our time would be called sensational things. In this matter 
he shall be his own witness. Fourth-day, the 6th of 
Twelfth month, 1815, at Pearl Street meeting in New York, 
there was a marriage during the meeting, on which account 
the attendance was large. After remarking that his mind 
was "exercised in an unusual manner/' he says: 

"For the subject which first presented, after my mind 
had become silenced, was the remembrance of the manner 
in which the temporal courts among men are called to 
order; and it became so impressive, as to apprehend it 
right to make use of it as a simile, much in the way the 
prophet was led to make use of some of the Rechabites, to 
convict Israel of their disobedience and want of attention to 
their law and law-giver. I accordingly was led to cry 
audibly three times, 'O yes ! O yes ! O yes ! silence all per- 
sons, under the pain and penalty of the displeasure of the 
court.' This unusual address had a powerful tendency to 
arrest the attention of all present, and from which I took 
occasion, as truth opened the way, to reason with the as- 
sembly, that if such a confused mass of people as are 
generally collected together on such occasions, and from 
very different motives, and many from mere curiosity to 
hear and see the transactions of the court, should all in 
an instant so honor and respect the court, as immediatelv 

'' Letter to his wife, written from Eas1 Cain, Pa., Seventh month 
22, 1813. 


to be still and silent at the simple call of the crier : How 
much more reasonable is it, for a collection of people, 
promiscuously gathered to the place appointed in a religious 
way, to wait upon, and worship the Judge of heaven and 
earth, to be still, and strive to silence every selfish and 
creaturely thought and cogitation of the mind. For such 
thoughts and cogitations would as certainly prevent our 
hearing the inward divine voice of the King of heaven, and 
as effectually hinder our worshipping him in spirit and in 
truth, as the talking of the multitude at a court of moral 
law, would interrupt the business thereof. As I proceeded 
with this simile, the subject enlarged and spread, accom- 
panied with gospel power and the evident demonstration of 
the spirit, whereby truth was raised into victory, and ran 
as oil over all. The meeting closed with solemn supplica- 
tion and thanksgiving to the Lord our gracious Helper, to 
whom all the honor and glory belong, both now and for- 
ever." 10 

Whatever may have been the opinion of Elias Hicks 
as to the inspiration of the minister, he evidently did not 
consider that it "was so impersonal and accidental, or so 
entirely outside the preacher, as to demand no care on his 
own part. The following advisory statement almost pro- 
vides for what might be called "preparation :" 

"In those large meetings, where Friends are collected 
from various parts, the weak and the strong together, and 
especially in those for worship, it is essentially necessary 
that Friends get inward, and wait in their proper gifts, 
keeping in view their standing: and place in society, espe- 
cially those in the ministry. For otherwise there is danger 
even from a desire to do good, of being caught with the 
enemies' transformations, particularly with those that are 
young, and inexperienced ; for we seldom sit in meetings but 
some prospect presents, which has a likeness, in its first 
impression, to the right thing; and as these feel naturally 
fearful of speaking in large meetings, and in the presence 
of their elderly friends, and apprehending they are likely to 
have something to offer, they are suddenly struck with the 

"Journal, p. 248. 


fear of man, and thereby prevented from centering down 
to their gifts, so as to discover whether it is a right motion, 
or not; and the accuser of the brethren, who is always 
ready with his transformations to deceive, charges with 
unfaithfulness and disobedience, by which they are driven 
to act without any clear prospect, and find little to say, ex- 
cept making an apology for them thus standing; by which 
they often disturb the meeting, and prevent others, who 
are rightly called to the work, and thereby wound the 
minds of the living baptized members." X1 

The responsibility which Elias Hicks felt for the meet- 
ing of which he was a member, and in which he felt called 
to minister, is well illustrated in the following quotation : 

"I was under considerable bodily indisposition most 
of this week. On Fifth-day, so much so, as almost to give 
up the prospect of getting to meeting; but I put on my 
usual resolution and went, and was glad in so doing, as 
there I met with that peace of God that passeth all under- 
standing, which is only known by being felt. I had to de- 
clare to my friends how good it is to trust in the Lord with 
all the heart, and lean not to our own understandings, lest 
they fail us." 12 

This records no uncommon occurrence. He was often 
indisposed, but the illness had to be severe if it kept him 
away from meeting. 

During his later life he was frequently indisposed, and 
sometimes under such bodily pain when speaking that he 
was forced to stop in the midst of a discourse. This 
happened in Green Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, 
Eleventh month 12, 1826. On this occasion the stenog- 
rapher says that after "leaving his place for a few minutes, 
he resumed." During this particular sermon Elias sat down 
twice, beside the time mentioned, evidently to recover physi- 
cal strength. 

11 Journal, p. 230. 
"Journal, p. 230. 


Elias Hicks was not one of those ministers who always 
spoke if he attended meeting. Many times he was silent; 
this being especially trite when in his home meeting. 
When on a religions visit he generally spoke, but not always. 
That his willing-ess to "famish the people from words," 
tended to his local popularity, is quite certain. 

The printed sermons of Elias Hicks would indicate that 
at times he was quite lengthy, and seldom preached what is 
known now as a short, ten-minute sermon. Estimating a 
number of sermons, we find that they averaged about 6500 
words, so that his sermons must have generally occupied 
from thirty to forty-five minutes in delivery. Occasionally 
a sermon contained over 8000 words, while sometimes less 
than 4000 words. 


The Hdme at Jericho. 

The village of Jericho, Long Island, is about 25 miles 
east of New York City, in the town of Oyster Bay. It 
has had no considerable growth since the days of Elias 
Hicks, and now contains only about a score and a half of 
houses. Hicksville, less than two miles away, the railroad 
station for the older hamlet, contains a population of a 
couple of thousand. It was named for Valentine Hicks, 
the son-in-law of Elias. 

Running through Jericho is the main-traveled road from 
the eastern part of Long Island to New York, called Jericho 
Pike. In our time it is a famous thoroughfare for auto- 
mobiles, is thoroughly modern, and as smooth and hard as 
a barn floor. In former days it was a toll-road, and over 
it Elias Hicks often traveled. A cross-country road runs 
through Jericho nearly north and south, leading to Oyster 
Bay. On this road, a few rods to the north from the turn 
in the Jericho Pike stands the house which was originally 
the Seaman homestead, where Elias Hicks lived from soon 
after his marriage till his death. 

The house was large and commodious for its time, but 
has been remodeled, so that only part of the building now 
standing is as it was eighty years ago. The house ends to 
the road, with entrance from the south side. It was of the 
popular Long Island and New England construction, shin- 
gled from celler wall to ridge-pole. Four rooms on the east 
end of the house, two upstairs and two down, are practically 



as they were in the days of Elias Hicks. In one of these he 
had his paralytic stroke, and in another he passed away. 
The comparatively wide hall which runs across the house, 
with the exception of the stairway, is as it was in the time 
of its distinguished occupant. A new stairway of modern 
construction now occupies the opposite side of the hall from 
the one of the older time. This hall-way, it is said, Elias 
Hicks loved to promenade, sometimes with his visitors, and 
here with characteristic warmth of feeling he sped his 
parting guests,, when the time for their departure came. 

Like the most of his neighbors, Elias Hicks was a 
farmer. The home place probably contained about seventy- 
live acres, but he possessed detached pieces of land, part of it 
in timber. Several years before his death he sold forty 
acres of the farm to his son-in-law, Valentine Hicks, thus 
considerably reducing the care which advancing years and 
increased religious labor made advisable. 

Jericho still retains its agricultural character more than 
some of the other sections of neighboring Long Island. 
The multi-millionaire and the real estate exploiter have ab- 
sorbed many of the old Friendly homes toward the West- 
bury neighborhood, and are pushing their ambitious intent at 
land-grabbing down the Jericho road. 

If Elias were to return and make a visit from Jericho 
to the meeting at Westbury, as he often did in his time, 
three or four miles away, he would pass more whizzing 
automobiles en route than he would teams, and would see 
the landscape beautifully adorned with lawns and walks, 
with parks and drives on the hillsides, not to mention the 
costly Roman garden of one of Pittsburg's captains of in- 
dustry. Should, he so elect, he could be whirled in a 
gasoline car in a few minutes over a distance which it 
probably took him the better part of an hour to make in 
his day. As he went along he could muse over snatches of 


Goldsmiths' "Deserted Village," like the following, which 
would be approximately, if not literally, true : 

"Hoards, e'en beyond the miser's wish abound, 
And rich men flock from all the world around. 
Yet count our gains : this wealth is but a name 
That leaves our useful products just the same. 
And so the loss : the man of wealth and pride 
Takes up the place that many poor supplied ; 
Space for his lake, his parks extending bounds, 
Space for his horses, equipage and hounds, 
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth, 
Has robbed the neighboring fields of half their growth." 

But there are some compensations in the modern scene, 
and however emotionally sad the change, the helpfully sug- 
gestive side is not in lamentation over the inevitable, but in 
considering the growing demands which the situation makes 
upon the practical spiritual religion which Elias Hicks 
preached, and in which his successors still profess to believe. 

A hundred years ago, wheat was a regular and staple 
farm product on Long Island, especially in and around 
Jericho, and on the Hicks farm. But no wheat is raised 
in this section now. The farmer finds it more profitable 
to raise the more perishable vegetables to feed the hungry 
hordes of the great city, which has crowded itself nearer and 
nearer to the farmers' domain. 

Less than a quarter of a mile up the road from the 
Hicks home is the Friends' Meeting House, which Elias 
Hicks helped to build, if he did not design it. The timbers 
and rafters, which were large, and are still sound to the 
core, were hewed by hand of course. Like most of the 
neighboring buildings, its sides were shingled, and probably 
the original shingles have not been replaced since the house 
was built, a hundred and twenty-two years ago. The "pub- 
lic gallery" contained benches sloping steeply one above the 
other, making the view of the preacher's gallery easy from 


these elevated positions. Over the preacher's gallery, and 
facing the one just described, is room for a row of seats 
behind a railing. Whether this was a sort of a "watch- 
tower" from which the elders might observe the deportment 
of the young people in the seats opposite, or whether it was 
simply used for overflow purposes, tradition does not tell 

The fact probably is that what is known as the Hicks 
property at Jericho came to Elias by his wife Jemima. 
There is every reason to believe that at the time of his 
marriage he was a poor man, and as the young folks took 
up their residence at the Seaman home soon after their 
marriage, there was no time for an accumulation of prop- 
erty on the part of the head of the new family. The 
economic situation involved in the matter under considera- 
tion had a most important bearing on the religious service 
of Elias Hicks. Taking the Seaman farm brought him 
economic certainty, if not independence. It is hardly con- 
ceivable that he could have given the large attention to the 
"free gospel ministry" which he did, had there been a 
struggle with debt and difficulty which was so incidental in 
laying the foundations of even a moderate success a century 
and a quarter ago. It is by no means to be inferred, how- 
ever, that Elias Hicks was ever a wealthy man, or possessed 
the means of luxury, for which of course he had no desire, 
and against which he bore a life-long testimony. The real 
point to be gratefully remembered is that he was not over- 
burdened with the care and worry which a less desirable 
economic condition would have enforced. 

In the mam, Elias Hicks saw his married children settle 
around him. Royal Aldrich, who married his oldest 
daughter, had a tannery, and lived on the opposite side of 
the road not far away. Valentine Hicks, who married 
another daughter, had a somewhat pretentious house for 


the time, at the foot of the little hill approaching the meet- 
ing house, and just beyond the house of Elias, Robert Sea- 
man, who married the youngest daughter, lived only a few 
steps away. Joshua Willets, who married the third 
daughter, resided on the south side of the island, some miles 
distant. The time of scattering families, lured by business 
outlook and economic advantage, had not vet arrived. 

The Hicks Family. 

In the home at Jericho the children of Elias Hicks 
were born. Touching his family we have this bit of inter- 
esting information from Elias Hicks himself : 

"My wife, although not of a very strong constitution, 
lived to be the mother of eleven children, four sons and 
seven daughters. Our second daughter, a very lovely 
promising child, died when young with the small pox, and 
the youngest was not living at its birth. The rest all 
arrived to years of discretion, and afforded us considerable 
comfort, as they proved to be in a good degree dutiful 
children. All our sons, however, were of weak constitu- 
tions, and were not able to take care of themselves, being 
so enfeebled as not to be able to walk after the ninth year 
of their age. The two eldest died in the fifteenth year of 
their age, the third in his seventeenth year, and the young- 
est was nearly nineteen when he died. But, although thus 
helpless, the innocency of their lives, and the resigned 
cheerfulness of their dispositions to their allotments, made 
the labour and toil of taking care of them agreeable and 
pleasant ; and I trust we were preserved from murmuring 
or repining, believing the dispensation to be in wisdom, and 
according to the will and gracious disposing of an all-wise 
providence, for purposes best known to himself. And when 
I have observed the great anxiety and affliction, which many 
parents have with undutiful children who are favoured 
with health, especially their sons, I could perceive very 
few whose troubles and exercises, on that account, did not 
far exceed ours. The weakness and bodily infirmity of our 
sons tended to keep them much out of the way of the 
troubles and temptations of the world ; and we believed 
that in their death they were happy, and admitted into the 
realms of peace and joy; a reflection, the most comfortable 



and joyous that parents can have in regard to their tender 
offspring/' 1 

The children thus referred to by their father were 
the following: Martha, born in 1771. She married Royal 
Aldrich, and died in 1862, at the advanced age of ninety- 
one. She was a widow for about twenty years. 

David was born in 1773, and died in 1787. Elias, 
the second son, was born in 1774, and died the same year 
as his brother David. Elizabeth was born in 1777, and 
died in 1779. This is the daughter who had the small 
pox. There are no records telling whether the other mem- 
bers of the family had the disease, or how this child of two 
years became a victim of the contagion. 

Phebe, the third daughter, was born in 1779. She 
married Joshua Willets, as noted in the last chapter. 

Abigail, who married Valentine Hicks, a nephew of 
Elias, was born in 1782 She died Second month 26, 1850, 
while her husband passed away the 5th of Third month of 
the same year, just one week after the death of his wife 

Jonathan, the third son, was born in 1784, and passed 
away in 1802. His brother, John, was born in 1789, and 
died in 1805. 

Elizabeth, evidently named for her little sister, was 
born in 1791, and lived to a good old age. She passed 
away in 1781. She was never married, and occasionally 
accompanied her father on his religious visits. She was 
known in the neighborhood, in her later years at least, as 
"Aunt Elizabeth," and is the best-remembered of any of 
the children of Elias Hicks. As the Friends remember her 
she was a spare woman, never weighing over ninety pounds. 

The youngest child of the family, Sarah, was born in 

Journal, p. T4. 


1793. She married Robert Seaman, her kinsman, and died 
in 1835. Robert, her husband, died in i860. 

It will be seen that the home at Jericho was a house 
acquainted with grief. Of the ten children, Martha, David, 
Elias and little Elizabeth made up the juvenile members of 
the household, up to the time of the death of the latter. 
Phebe came the same year, while Abigail was born three 
years later, so that there were at least four or five children 
always gathered around the family board. Before the pass- 
ing away of Elias and David, the family had been increased 
by the birth of Jonathan, making the children living at one 
time six. After the death of the three older boys, and the 
birth of Elizabeth and Sarah, until the death of John in 
1805, the living children were still six in number. The 
five daughters, Martha, Phebe, Abigail, Elizabeth and Sarah 
all outlived their parents. 

Elias Hicks was undoubtedly a most affectionate father, 
as the letters to his wife and children show. How much 
this was diluted by the apparent sternness of his religious 
concerns is a matter for the imagination to determine. 
What were the amusements of this large family is< an inter- 
esting question in this "age of the child," with its surfeit 
of toys and games. What were the tasks of the girls it is 
not so hard to answer. Of course they worked "samplers," 
pieced quilts, learned to spin, and knit, and possibly to weave, 
and to prepare the wool or flax for the loom. If we read 
between the lines in the description of their father, we can 
easily infer that the physically afflicted sons were neverthe- 
less not without the joys of boyhood. 

At all events, if it was an afflicted family, it was also 
a united one. It was a home where the parents were rever- 
enced by the children, and where there was a feeling of 
love, and a sense of loyalty. This feeling is still character- 


istic of the descendants of Elias Hicks. It is a sample of 
the persistence of the qualities of a strong man, in the gen- 
erations that come after him. 

Of the four daughters of Elias Hicks who were 
married, but two had children, so that the lineal descendants 
of the celebrated Jericho preacher are either descendants of 
Martha Hicks, wife of Valentine, or of Sarah Hicks Sea- 
man. These two branches of the family are quite 
numerous. 2 

Of Jemima, the wife of Elias Hicks, little is known 
apart from the correspondence of her husband, and that is 
considerable. That he considered her his real help-meet, 
and had for her a lover's affection to the end is abundantly 
attested by all of the facts. Dame Rumor, in the region of 
Jericho, claims that she was her husband's intellectual in- 
ferior, but that is an indefinite comparison worth very little. 
That she was at some points his superior is undoubtedly 
true, and it must be remembered that Elias himself, with all 
of his great natural ability, lacked intellectual culture and 
literary training. Jemima was evidently a good house- 
keeper, and manager of affairs. Before she had sons-in- 
law with whom to advise, and even after that, the business 
side of the family was a considerable part of the time in her 
hands. It is no small matter to throw upon a woman, 
never robust, the responsibility of both the mother and 
father of a family during the prolonged absence of the 

The first long religious visit of Elias Hicks lasted ten 
weeks. At that time there were four little people in the 
Hicks home, from eight-year-old Martha to two-year-old 
Elizabeth, who died that year, while Phebe was born after 
the return of her father from his Philadelphia trip. Sev- 

2 The descendants referred to will be given in their proper place 
in the Appendix. 


eral of the other extended journeys were made while the 
children of the family were of an age requiring care. Of 
course this laid labor and responsibility on the wife and 
mother. These she bore without complaining and, we may 
he sure, with executive ability of no mean order. 

It was a time when women were not expected to be 
either the intellectual peers or companions of their husbands, 
and we cannot justly apply the measurements and standards 
of to-day, to the women of a century ago. Men of the 
Elias Hicks type, meeting their fellows in public assemblies 
and ministering to them, traveling widely and forming 
many friendships, whether in the Society of Friends or out 
of it, are likely to be praised, if not petted, while their 
wives, less known, labor on unappreciated. Such a woman 
was Jemima Hicks. To her, and all like her, the lasting 
gratitude of the sons of men is due. 


Letters to his Wife. 

In the long absences from home, which the religious 
visits of Elias Hicks involved, as a matter of course many 
of the domestic burdens fell heavily upon his wife. In so 
far as he could atone for his absence by sending epistles 
home he did so. In fact, for the times, he was a voluminous 
letter writer. 

It was not a time of rapid transit. Distances now 
spanned in a few hours demanded days and weeks when 
Elias Hicks was active in the ministry. At the best, but 
a few letters could reach home from the traveler absent for 
several months. 

In the main the letters which Elias sent to his beloved 
Jemima were of the ardent lover-like sort. It seemed im- 
possible, however, for him to avoid the preacherly function 
in even his most tender and domestic missives. Exhorta- 
tions to practical righteousness, and to the maintenance of 
what he considered the Friendly fundamentals, were plenti- 
fully mixed with his most private and personal concerns. 

In going over this correspondence one wishes for more 
description, relating to the human side of the traveler's 
experiences. A man who several times traversed what was 
really the width of habitable America, and mostly either in 
a wagon or on horseback, must have seen much that was 
interesting, and many times humorous and even pathetic. 
But few of these things moved Elias Hicks, or diverted him 
from what he considered the purely gospel character of his 

Still there is much worth while in this domestic corre- 



spondence. From it we compile and annotate such extracts 
as seem to help reveal the character of the man who wrote 

On the 13th of Eighth month, 1788, Elias was at Creek, 
now Clinton Corners, in Dutchess county, New York. From 
a letter written to his wife that day, we quote : 

"My heart glows at this time with much love and af- 
fection for thee and our dear children, with breathing desires 
for your preservation, and that thou, my dear, may be kept 
in a state of due watchfulness over thyself, and those dear 
lambs under thy care, that nothing may interrupt the cur- 
rent of pure love among you in my absence." 

A letter dated "Lynn, Massachusetts, ye 24th of eighth 
month, 1793," and written to his wife, is of peculiar interest. 
We quote the first sentences : 

"I received last evening, at my return to this place from 
the East, thy very acceptable letter of the 16th instant." 
. . . The contents, except the account of the pain in thy 
side, were truly comfortable. That part wherein thou ex- 
presseth a resignation to the Divine Will, was particularly 
satisfactory, for in this, my dear, consists our chiefest happi- 
ness and consolation." 

He sometimes expressed a sense of loneliness in his 
travels, but was certain of the nearness of the Divine Spirit. 
In the letter mentioned above he said : 

"Thou hast cause to believe with me, my dear, that it 
was He that first united our hearts together in the bonds of 
an endeared love and affection. So it is He that has kept 
and preserved us all our life long, and hath caused us to 
witness an increase of that unfading love, which as thou 
expresseth is ever new." 

Evidently his beloved Jemima, like Martha of old, was 
unduly troubled about many things, for we find Elias in his 
letter indulging in the (-following warning : "And let me 


again hint to thee a care over thyself, for I fear thou wilt 
expose thyself by too much, bodily exercise in the care of thy 

It is seldom that we rind even a tinge of complaining in 
any of his letters. It seems, however, that his women folks 
were not industrious correspondents. In closing the letter 
noted he thus expressed himself : 

"My companion receives his packet of letters, frequently 
four, five or six at a time, which makes me feel as if I was 
forgotten by my friends, having received but two small 
letters from home since I left you. And thou writest, my 
dear, as if paper was scarce, on very small pieces." 

On the 3d of Ninth month, of the same year, a letter 
was written to his wife, much like the foregoing. It is 
interesting to note that Elias was at this time the guest of 
Moses Brown (in Providence), the founder of the Moses 
Brown School. The small pieces of paper mentioned are 
hints of a wifely economy, not altogether approved by her 
very economical husband. There is a gentle tinge of rebuke 
in the following, written from Nine Partners, Eleventh 
month 19, 18 18. The temptation is strong to read into 
these lines, a grain of humor touching the much-talked-of 
persistence of a woman's will : 

'"Inasmuch as I have often felt concerned when thus 
absent, least thou should worry thyself, with too much care 
and labor in regard to our temporal concerns, and have 
often desired thee to be careful in that respect, but mostly 
without effect, by reason that thou art so choice of thy own 
free agency as to be afraid to take the advice of thy best 
friend, lest it might mar that great privilege ; I therefore 
now propose to leave thee at full liberty to use it in thine 
own pleasure with the addition of this desire, that thou use 
it in that way as will produce to thee the most true com- 
fort and joy, and then I trust I shall be comforted, my 
dear, in thy comfort, and joyful in thy joy." 

A letter dated West Jersey, near Salem, the 6th of First 


month, 1798, mentions a singular concern about apparel. He 
exhorts his wife to guard the tender minds of their children 
from "foolish and worldly vanities," and then drops into a 
personal and general statement regarding what he consid- 
ered simplicity and plainness as follows : 

"Great is the apparent departure from primitive purity 
and plainness among many professors of the truth, where 
our lots have been cast. Foreseeing that I may often be 
led in a line of close doctrine to such it has brought me 
under close self-examination, knowing for certain that those 
who have to deal out to others ought to look well to their 
own going. In this time of scrutiny nothing turned up as 
bringing reproof to my mind concerning our children, but 
the manner of Avearing their gown sleeves long and pinned 
at the wrist. This I found to. strike at the pure life, and 
wounded my mind. I clearly saw my deficiency that I had 
not more endeavored to have it done away with before I 
left home, for I felt it as a burden then. But seeing our 
dear daughters had manifested so much condescension in 
other things, and this being like one of the least, I en- 
deavored to be easy under it. But feeling it with assurance 
not to be a plant of our Heavenly Father's right-hand plant- 
ing, think it ought to be plucked up. Let our dear 
daughters read these lines, and tell them their dear father 
prays they may wisely consider the matter, and if they can 
be willing so far to condescend to my desire while absent 
as to have these things removed, it will be as balsam to my 
wounded spirit, and they will not go without their reward. 
But their father's God will bless them and become their 
God, as they are faithful to his reproofs in their hearts, 
and walk fearfully before Him. He will redeem them, out 
of all adversity to the praise and glory of His grace, who 
is over all, God, blessed forever." 

During a visit to Nine Partners, Twelfth month 15, 
1803, Elias wrote to Jemima. Evidently she had repelled 
the inference, if not the implication, that she had been negli- 
gent in her correspondence, for we find the letter in question 
l>eginning in this fashion : 

"Although I wrote thee pretty fully last evening, yet 
having since that received a precious, refreshing letter from 


thee, by Isaac Frost (it being the first I have received from 
thee since I left home), but finding from thy last that thou 
hast written several. It affords a singular satisfaction in 
finding thou hast been mindful of me. But I have not com- 
plained, my dear, nor let in, nor indulged a thought that 
thou hadst forgotten me, nor do I believe thou couldst. 
There is nothing while we continue in our right minds that 
can dissolve that firm and precious bond of love and en- 
deared affection, which from our first acquaintance united 
us together, and in which, while writing these lines my 
spirit greets thee with endeared embraces." 

It surely seems strange that a man who was the father 
of eleven children, that his only source of personal "reproof" 
concerning them, was this little matter of the sleeves and 
the pins. This probably is a fair illustration of what may 
be called the conservatism of Elias Hicks touching all of the 
peculiarities of the Society of Friends. 

The postscript to a letter written to Jemima from 
Shrewsbury, New Jersey, Twelfth month 17, 1797, reads 
as follows: "As thou writes but poorly, if thou should get 
Hallet or Royal to write superscriptions on the letters, it 
would make them more plain for conveyance." 

It was only seldom that business affairs at home were 
referred to in his epistles to his wife. But occasionally a 
departure was made from this practice. Where these lapses 
do occur, it would seem that they should be noted. In the 
fall of 1822 Elias was in the vicinity of Philadelphia, and 
was stopping with his friend and kinsman, Edward Hicks, 
at Newtown, in Bucks county. 

In this letter he says : "My health is much the same as 
when I left home. I was disappointed in not meeting any 
letters here, as I feel very anxious how you all do." We 
copy the balance of the letter, with its tender admonition 
to Jemima: 

"I will just remind thee that before I left home I 
put two old ewes in the green rye on the plains. If they 


should improve as to be fit to kill, I should be willing thou 
would let Josiah have one of them, as he agreed to split up 
some of the timber that was blown down in the woods 
by him, into rails and board himself. The other thou might 
sell or otherwise at thy pleasure. 

"Now, my dear, let me remind thee of thy increasing 
bodily infirmities, and the necessity it lays thee under to 
spare thyself of the burthen and care of much bodily and 
mental labour and exercise, by which thou will experience 
more quiet rest, both to body and mind, and that it may be. 
my dear, our united care to endeavor that our last days 
may be our best days, that so we may witness a state and 
qualification to pass gently and quietly out of time, into 
the mansions of eternal blessedness, where all sighing and 
sorrow, will be at an end." 

While in Pennsylvania, and at what is now York, 
Fourth month 3, 1798, he sent a tender missive home. 
Part of it referred to business matters. He gave directions 
for preparing the ground, and planting potatoes, and also 
for oats and flax, the latter being a crop practically unknown 
to present-day Long Island. He then gives the following 
direction regarding a financial obligation : 

"And as James Carhartt has a bond of sixty pounds 
against me, of money belonging to a Dutchman, should be 
glad if thou hast not money enough by thee to pay the 
interest thereof, thou would call upon Royal or brother 
Joseph and get some, and pay it the first of Fifth month." 

While at Railway, New Jersey, Eleventh month 6, 
1801, on his visit to Friends in New Jersey and Pennsyl- 
vania, he wrote one of his most expressive letters to Jemima. 
A postscript was attached directed to his daughters. To his 
oldest daughter, Martha, he sent an exhortation in which 
he said: "My desires for thee, my dear, are that thou may 
be preserved innocent and chaste to the Lord, for I can have 
no greater joy than to find my children walking in the 

That a large part of his concern was for the comfort 



of his wife in the long absences from home is abundantly 
shown in his entire correspondence. The last postscript to 
the Rahway letter is as follows : 

"And, dear Phebe and Abigail, remember your Creator, 
who made you not to spend your time in play and vanity, 
but to be sober and to live in his fear, that he may bless 
you. Be obedient to your dear mother, it is my charge to 
you. Love and help her whatever you can; it will com- 
fort your dear father.'' 

The 2d of Eleventh month, 1820, Elias arrived at 
Hudson, and learning that the steamboat to New York was 
to pass that day, he prepared and sent a letter to his wife. 
In this letter he says : 

"It may be that some of my friends may think me so 
far worth noticing, as to meet me with a line or two at Nine 
Partners, as I have often felt very desirous of hearing how 
you fare at home, but this desire hath mostly failed of 
being gratified. I suppose the many things so absorb the 
minds of my friends at home, that they have no time to 
think of so poor a thing as I am. But never mind it, as 
all things, it is said, will work together for good to those 
that love and fear [God]/' 

While at Saratoga, in 1793, Elias wrote to Jemima, 
Tenth month 15th. This is one of his most ardent epistles. 
"Oh, my dear," he says, "may we ever keep in remembrance 
the day of our espousal and gladness of our hearts, as I 
believe it was a measure of the Divine Image that united our 
hearts together in the beginning. It is the same that I be- 
lieve has, and still doth strengthen the sweet, influential and 
reciprocal bond, that nothing, I trust, as we dwell under a 
sense of Divine love and in the pure fear, will ever be able 
to obliterate or deface." 

Third month 15, 1798, a letter was written from 
Alexandria, Va., from which we make this extract: 

"We came here this morning from Sandy Spring, which 


is upwards of twenty miles distant. Got in timely so as 
to attend their meeting which began at the tenth hour. 
Crossed the river Potomac on our way. We got on horse- 
back about break of day, and not being very well I thought 
I felt the most fatigued before I got in, I was ever sensible 
f before. When I came to the meeting, a poor little one 
it was, and wherein I had to suffer silence through the 
meeting for worship, but in their Preparative which fol- 
lowed, I found my way open in a measure to ease my mind." 



The Slavery Question. 

, John Woolman was the mouth-piece of the best 
Quaker conscience of the eighteenth century on the slavery 
question. For twenty-five years before his death, in 1772, 
he was pleading with the tenderness of a woman that his 
beloved religious society should clear itself from complicity 
with the system which held human beings in bondage. His 
mantel apparently fell on Warner Mifflin, a young man re- 
siding in Kent county, Delaware, near the little hamlet of 
Camden. In 1775 Mifflin manumitted his slaves, and was 
followed by like conduct on the part of his father, Daniel 
Mifflin, a resident of Accomac County, in Virginia. 

Warner Mifflin is said to have been the first man in 
America to voluntarily give freedom to his bondmen, and 
to make restitution to such of them as were past twenty-one, 
for the unrequited service which they had rendered him. 
Be that as it may, from 1775, until his death in 1799, 
Warner Mifflin, with tireless zeal labored with Friends per- 
sonally, and with meetings in their official capacity, to drive 
the last remnant of slavery from the Quaker fold. His 
efforts appeared in various monthly meeting minutes 
throughout Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and he was not 
backward in laying his concern before the Yearly Meeting 
itself. In 1783, on the initiative of Mifflin, the Yearly Meet- 
ing for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and the 
Western Parts of Maryland and Virginia, memorialized 
the infant United States Congress in regard to slavery. 
The document was a striking one for the time, was signed 
in person by 535 Friends, and was presented to the Con- 
gress by a strong committee headed by Warner Mifflin. 



These efforts at internal deliverance from connection 
and complicity with slavery produced speedy results, and 
before the close of the century not a Quaker slave holder 
remained in the Society, unless in some obscure cases that 
continued "under care." Having cleared its own skirts of 
slavery, the members of the Society became divided into 
two classes — the one anxious that the Quaker conscience 
should make its appeal to the general conscience for the 
entire abolition of the "great iniquity." The other class, 
satisfied with their own sinlessness in this particular, wished 
the Society to remain passive, and in no way mix with a 
public agitation of the mooted question. These two oppos- 
ing views distracted the Society down to the very verge of 
the final issue in the slaveholders' rebellion. 

Elias Hicks was three years Warner Mifflin's junior. 
He probably saw the Delaware abolitionist during his visits 
to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting before the death of Mifflin. 
Whether either ever saw or heard John Woolman cannot be 
positively stated. Mifflin was twenty-seven when the great 
New Jersey preacher and reformer passed away, and must 
have fallen under the spell of Woolman's inspiring leader- 
ship. Elias Hicks could hardly have escaped being influ- 
enced by this "elder brother," although he may never have 
seen him. 

The subject of this biography was among those who 
believed that the Society of Friends had a message to the 
world along the line of its internal testimony against 
slavery, and he did not hesitate to deliver the message, 
though it disturbed the superficial ease in Zion. Still he 
had no definite plan apart from the appeal to conscience for 
settling the problem. 

It must be remembered, however, that Elias Hicks 
passed away before the real abolition movement, as repre- 
sented by Garrison and Phillips and their compeers, had 


begun its vigorous agitation, or organized its widely applied 
propaganda. What the attitude of Elias would have been 
toward Friends becoming members of the abolition socie- 
ties, which after his death played such an important part, 
and touching which many Friends were either in doubt or 
in opposition we cannot even surmise. 

Benjamin Lundy 1 commenced his literary warfare 
against slavery, with the ponderously named "Genius of 
Universal Emancipation," in 182 1. Elias Hicks was one of 
Lundy's most concerned and faithful patrons, in some of 
his undertakings, 2 as appears in his personal correspondence. 

The state of New York provided for the gradual eman- 
cipation of its slaves in 1799, so that Elias Hicks had to go 
away from home after that period to get into real slave terri- 
tory. As has. been seen he began bearing his testimony in 
meetings for worship against the institution in Maryland, 
where slave holding was the law of the land until the end. 

There are statements more or less legendary to the 
effect that Elias was the owner of one slave, but of that 
there is no authentic evidence, while the probabilities are all 
against it. If he ever held a slave or slaves, he undoubtedly 
manumitted them. An act of such importance would hardlv 

1 Benjamin Lundy was born of Quaker parents, First month 4, 
1789, in Sussex County, New Jersey. He learned the trade of harness 
maker and saddler, and went to Ohio, where he became very much 
interes'ed in the slavery question. In 1816 he issued an "Address" 
touching the evils of slavery. Of this Address, Horace Greely says, 
it contained the germ of the whole anti-slavery movement. In First 
month, 1821, he issued the first number of The Genius of Universal 
Emancipation. Lundy was interested in various schemes for coloniza- 
tion, and assisted many emancipated negroes to go to Hayti, and con- 
templated the establishment of a colony of colored people in Mexico. 
He died at Lowell, Illinois, Eighth month 22, 1839, and was buried 
in the Friends' burying ground at Clear Creek. 

a Please inform Benjamin Lundy that I have procured fifty-two 
subscribers, or subscribers for fifty-two books, entitled, "Letters," etc. — 
Extract from letter to his son-in-law, Valentine Hicks, dated Jericho. 
Eleventh month 6, 1827. 


have escaped record in the Journal, and no reference to it 

The controversies and disownments in the Society of 
Friends on account of the slavery question really came after 
the death of Elias. The trouble in New York resulting 
in the disownment of Isaac T. Hopper, James S, Gibbons 
and Charles Marriott came on more than a decade after 
his death. This entire controversy has been wrongly esti- 
mated by most of the biographers and historians, repre- 
senting the pronounced abolitionists of the period. It was 
not simply a contest between anti-slavery Friends and pro- 
slavery Friends. In fact the moving spirits against Isaac 
T. Hopper were not advocates or defenders of slavery as an 
institution. George F. White, who was probably the head 
and front of the movement to disown Isaac T. Hopper, was 
not in favor of slavery. After his death his monthly meet- 
ing memorialized him, and among other things stated that 
he had for years refrained from using commodities made 
by slave labor. 

The conservative wing of the Society was opposed 
to Friends becoming identified with any organization for 
any purpose outside of the Society. George F. White 
attacked temperance organizations, as he did abolition socie- 

It was a common inference, if not a claim, of the Garri- 
sonian abolitionists, that there were no real anti-slavery 
men outside of their organization. In Fifth month, 1840, 
there was a debate involving the abolition attitude of the 
Society of Friends in the town of Lynn, Massachusetts. In 
this debate William Lloyd Garrison said of the Society: "If 
it were an abolition society, its efforts would be identified 
with ours." 3 

3 The "Liberator," May 1, 1841, p. 3, 


In the same debate Oliver Johnson disputed the aboli- 
tion claims of the Society of Friends, saying: "They have 
asserted for themselves the claim of being an abolition so- 
ciety. But we never could get into their meeting house. " * 
Thus was the test of abolitionism made to hinge upon hous- 
ing the Abolition Society. 

That the attitude of the conservatives was ill-advised 
and reprehensible may be true. It is also true that this 
body Of Friends were not in favor of any effort to over- 
throw slavery by popular agitation. They held that all other 
Christians should do what Friends had done, cease to hold 
slaves, and that would settle the whole question. However 
shortsighted this attitude may have been, very few, if any, 
of the Friends holding it, believed in holding black men 
in bondage. In fact it is pretty safe to assert that at no 
time after the Society had freed itself from direct com- 
plicity with slavery was there any considerable number of 
strictly pro-slavery Friends in this country. 

In the disownments in the Society growing out of the 
slavery controversy there was never a direct charge of aboli- 
tionism brought against the accused. In Kennett Monthly 
Meeting in Chester County, Pa., where in about seven years 
thirty-four Friends were disowned, the charge was that the 
persons had "associated with others in forming, sustaining 
and supporting a professedly religious organization 5 dis- 
tinct from and not owned by Friends, and have wholly de- 
clined attending our religious meetings." r> 

Of course, it is true that the Friends who took part 
in the Progressive Friends' movement were probably led to 

* The "Liberator," May t, 1841, p. 3. 

* The "Progressive Friends." 

•Records of Kennett Monthly Meeting, First month 6. 1857. 


do so because the way did not open for them to be aggres- 
sively anti-slavery in the parent meeting. 

The colonization scheme, that is a plan to colonize 
emancipated negroes either in Africa, or in Hayti, or else- 
where, was prominently urged during the time of Elias 
Hicks. Benjamin Lundy had a plan of this character which 
he attempted to make practical. Evan Lewis, 7 of New 
York, in 1820, was interested in an effort of this sort, and 
sought the advice of Elias Hicks in the matter. 

We have not been able to find any reply to this par- 
ticular letter, and are thus not warranted in saying whether 
Elias Hicks sympathized with such a scheme or not. 

The attitude of Elias Hicks on the slavery question is 
only minutely referred to in his Journal. His private corre- 
spondence gives his feeling and conduct in the case, in not 
a few instances. From his general disposition one would 
expect to find liis objections to slavery based entirely on 
moral and religious grounds. Still, evidence, abounds that 
he had also considered the economic phases of the question, 
as note the following: 

"I may further add that from forty years of observation 
that in all cases where opportunity has opened the way 
fairly to contrast the subject, it has afforded indubitable 
evidence to my mind, that free labor is cheaper and more 
profitable than that done by slaves." 8 

It seems to have been laid upon him to present the 
claims of the truth as he saw it, in slave-holding communi- 
ties. He makes the following statement touching service of 
this kind in Virginia : 

"I have passed through some proving seasons since I 

7 Evan Lewis, a New York Friend and business man. He corre- 
sponded with King Henry, of San Domingo. Was a warm friend of 
Elias Hicks, and after the "separation" wrote a pamphlet in defense 
of Elias. 

8 From letter written to James Cropper, of England, dated Balti- 
more, Eleventh month 2, 1822. 12 


left Baltimore, in meetings where many negro masters at- 
tended, some of whom held fifty, some an hundred, and 
some it was thought one hundred and fifty of these poor 
people in slavery. Was led to treat on the subject in divers 
meetings, in such a manner and so fully to expose the 
iniquity and unrighteousness thereof, that some who had 
stouted 9 it out hitherto against all conviction, were much 
humbled and brought to a state of contrition, and not one 
individual had power to make any opposition. But truth 
reigned triumphantly over all, to the rejoicing of many 
hearts." 10 

Elias Hicks wrote a number of articles on the slavery 
question, and some of them were printed and publicly cir- 
culated. A letter written at Manchester, England, Seventh 
month 5, 1812, by Martha Routh, and addressed to Elias 
Hicks, says : "I have not forgot that I am debtor to thee 
this way, for two very acceptable and instructive epistles, the 
latter with a pamphlet setting forth the deep exercise of thy 
mind, and endeavors for the more full relief of our fellow- 
brethren, the African race." This letter informs Elias that 
the author sent his pamphlet to Thomas Clarkson. 

Considerable was written by Elias Hicks on the slave 
trade, some of it existing as unpublished manuscript. An 
article, filling four closely written pages of foolscap, is 
among his literary effects. A very long letter was written 
to James Cropper, of England, on the same subject. Both 
of these documents were written while the slave-trade bill 
was pending in the British Parliament. Elias considered the 
measure entirely inadequate, holding that the domestic pro- 
duction of slaves was as inhuman and abhorrent, if not more 
so, as their importation from Africa. In the letter to 
Cropper this strong statement is found : "It ought ever to 

!l "Stouted" seems to have been a favorite word with Elias. He 
habitually uses it as representing- an aggravated resistance to the 

'"From letter written to his wife from Alexandria, Va., Third 
month 15, T708. 


be remembered that it is one of the most necessary and 
essential duties both towards God and man, for individuals 
and nations to exert all the power and influence they are 
possessed of, in every righteous and consistent way, to put 
an entire stop to all oppression, robbery and murder without 
partiality, as it respects nations or individuals." 

Many times, in his published sermons, Elias Hicks dealt 
with the iniquity of slavery. Without doubt he expressed 
himself in like manner in sermons preached before interest 
in the man and his utterances caused his sermons to be 
stenographically reported and published. 

"Oh ! that our eyes might be opened, to see more deeply 
into the mystery of iniquity and godliness ; that we might 
become conversant in godliness and so reject iniquity. For 
all this wicked oppression of the African race is of the 
mystery of iniquity. The man of sin and son of perdition 
does these works, and nothing else does them. Justice is 
fallen in the streets, and in the councils of the nation. How 
much justice there is; for they have it in their power to do 
justice to these poor oppressed creatures, but they are wait- 
ing till all their selfish notions are gratified." " 

Elias Hicks was as strongly opposed to the lines of 
interest and economic conduct which indirectly supported 
slavery as he was to the institution itself. We quote: 

"And for want of a sight of this oppression, how many 
there are who, though they seem not willing to put their 
hands upon a fellow creature to bind him in chains of bond- 
age, yet they will do everything to help along by purchasing 
the labor of those poor creatures, which is like eating flesh 
and drinking blood of our poor fellow-creatures. Is it like 
coming home to justice? For the thief and oppressor are 
just alike; the one is as bad as the other/' 12 

11 From sermon preached at Newtown, Pa., Twelfth month 18, 
1826. The "Quaker," Vol. 4, p. 183. 

12 From sermon preached at Abington, Pa.. Twelfth month 15, 
1826. The "Quaker," Vol. 4, p. 155. 


In dealing with slavery and slaveholders, his language 
often bordered on what would now be called bitterness. 
Here is a case in point : 

"Can slaveholders, mercenaries and hirelings, who look 
for their gain from this quarter, can they promote the re- 
ligion of Jesus Christ? No, they are the cause of its re- 
proach, for they are the cause of making unbelievers." 13 

His concern touching slavery was largely based on con- 
siderations of justice, and regard for the opportunity which 
he believed ought to be the right of all men. In one of his 
sermons he said: 

"Thousands and tens of thousands have been forbidden 
the enjoyment of every good thing on earth, even of common 
school-learning; and must it still be so? God forbid it. 
But this would be a trifle, if they had the privilege of 
rational beings on the earth ; that liberty which is the great- 
est of all blessings — the exercise of free agency. And here 
we are glutting ourselves with the toils of their labor ! . . . 
But this noble testimony, of refusing to partake of the spoils 
of oppression, lies with the dearly beloved young people of 
this day. We can look for but little from the aged, who have 
been accustomed to these things." 14 

In the sermon "just referred to," we find the follow- 

"We are on a level with all the rest of God's creatures. 
We are not better for being white than others for being 
black ; and we have no more right to oppress the blacks 
because they are black than they have to oppress us be- 
cause we are white. Therefore, every one who oppresses 
his colored brother or sister is a tyrant upon the earth ; and 
every one who strengthens the hand of an oppressor is a 
tyrant upon earth. They have turned from God, and have 

13 A series, of extemporaneous discourses by Elias Hicks. Joseph 
and Edward Parker, p. 24. 

14 From sermon preached in Philadelphia, Twelfth month 1, 1824. 
Parker's "Discourses by Elias Hicks," p. 60-61. 


not that powerful love, which does away all distinction and 
prejudice of education, and sets upon equal grounds all 
those that have equal rights." 1S 

Of the "essays" on the slavery question written by 
Elias Hicks, one has survived, and is bound in the volume, 
"Letters of Elias Hicks," The pamphlet in question, though 
small, like many "ancient" productions, had a very large 
title, viz. : "Observations on the Slavery of the Africans 
and Their Descendants, and the Use of the Produce of Their 
Labor." 16 It was originally published in 181 1, having been 
approved by the Meeting for Sufferings of New York 
Yearly Meeting. Nearly half of the "essay" is made up of 
a series of questions and answers. When printed it made 
six leaves the size of this page. On the subject of the 
product of slave labor, decided ground was taken, the claim 
being that all such produce was "prize goods." The reason 
for this claim was that the slaves originally were captives, 
practically the victims of a war of capture if not conquest. 
Among other things the essay argues the rightfulness and 
justice of any State to pass laws abolishing slavery within 
its borders. 

While the arguments presented in this document are of 
general value, it is probable that the pamphlet was in the 
main intended for circulation among Friends, with a view 
to stimulating them to such action as would forward the 
cause of freedom. This essay by Elias Hicks antedated by 
five years the address by Benjamin Lundy, already referred 
to, and was probably one of the first publications in the 
nineteenth century actually advocating the abolition of 

In studying the slavery question it is necessary to re- 

15 The same, p. 79. 

n> "Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 9. 


member that before the invention of the cotton gin, about 
1793, a considerable but unorganized and ineffective anti- 
slavery sentiment existed in the country. But after that 
invention, which rendered slave labor very remunerative, 
sentiment of this sort subsided so that the Friends, who, like 
Elias Hicks, advocated abolition during the first quarter of 
the nineteenth century, were really pioneers in the attempt 
which resulted in the freedom of a race. 

At one time church organizations, even in the South, 
especially the Baptists, passed resolutions favorable to the 
abolition of slavery. Churches North and South in the 
decade between 1780 and 1790 were well abreast of Friends 
in this particular. Touching this matter Horace Greeley 
remarked : "But no similar declaration has been made by 
any Southern Baptist Convention since field-hands rose to 
$1,000 each, and black infants at birth were accounted worth 
$ioo. v 17 

We could make copious extracts from the anti-slavery 
utterances of Elias Hicks, but our object is simply to give 
the scope of his thinking and purpose in regard to this 
matter. Few men at certain points were more altruistic 
than he, and as an altruist he could not do other than oppose 
the great social and economic iniquity of his time. From his 
standpoint slavery was utterly and irretrievably bad, and to 
bear testimony constant and consistent against it was part 
of the high calling of the Christian. 

17 "The American Conflict," by Horace Greeley, Vol. T p. 120. 


Various Opinions. 

Elias Hicks had very definite ideas on a great many 
subjects. While in many respects he was in advance of his 
time, at other points he was conservative. At any rate he 
was not in unity with some of the prevalent social and 
economic arrangements. On the question of property he 
entertained some startling convictions. Just how much 
public expression he gave to these views may not be posi- 
tively determined. That he believed that there were grave 
spiritual dangers involved in getting and holding great 
wealth, is abundantly attested in his public utterances, but 
we must look to his private correspondence for some of his 
advanced views on the property question. 

In a letter addressed to "Dear Alsop," dated Jericho, 
Fifth month 14, 1826, he deals quite definitely with the 
matter of property. After claiming that the early Christians 
wandered from the pure gospel of Jesus after they ceased 
to rely on the inward teacher, he makes a declaration on the 
subject as follows : 

"But did we all as individuals take the spirit of truth, 
or light within, as our only rule and guide in all things, w r e 
should all then be willing, and thereby enabled, to do justly, 
love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Then we should 
hold all things in common, and call nothing our own, but 
consider all our blessings as only lent to us, to be used and 
distributed by us in such manner and way as his holy spirit, 
or this inward teacher, may from time to time direct. Hence 
we should be made all equal, accountable to none but God 
alone, for the right use or the abuse of his blessings. Then 
all mankind would be but one community, have but one 
head, but one father, and the saying of Jesus would be veri- 



fled. We should no longer call any man master, for one 
only has a right to be our Master, even God, and all man- 
kind become brethren. This is the kind of community that 
I have been labouring for more than forty years to introduce 
mankind into, that so we might all have but one head, and 
one instructor and he (God) come to rule whose only right 
it is, and which would always have been the case, had not 
man rebelled against his maker, and disobeyed his salutary 
instruction and commands." 

Touching the "cares and deceitfulness of riches,'' he 
had much to say. He tells us that on a certain day he 
attended the meeting of ministers and elders in Westbury, 
and sat through it "under great depression and poverty of 
spirit." There was evidently some confession and not a 
little complaining, as there is now, regarding the possession 
and exercise of spiritual gifts on the part of Friends. But 
Elias affirmed that the "cloud" over the meeting was not 
"in consequence of a deficiency of ministers, as it respects 
their ministerial gifts, nor from a want of care in elders in 
watching over them ; but from a much more deep and melan- 
choly cause, viz. : the love and cares of this world and the 
deceitfulness of riches ; which, springing up and gaining the 
ascendency in the mind, choke the good seed like the briars 
and thorns, and render it fruitless ; and produce such great 
dearth and barrenness in our meetings." 

' i 

Elias Hicks apparently believed that labor had in itself 
a vital spiritual quality. In fact he held that the famous 
injunction in Genesis "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou 
eat bread" "was not a penalty, but it was a divine counsel — 
a counsel of perfect wisdom and perfect love." 2 It was his 
opinion that all oppression, slavery and injustice, had their 
origin in the disposition of men to shirk the obligation to 

'Journal of Elias I licks, p. 233. 

'Sermon preached at Abington, Pa., Twelfth month 15, 1826 
The "Quaker," p. [55. 


Valentine Hicks (Son-in-Law) 
Martha Aldrich 

Abigail Hicks 
Elizabeth Hicks 


labor, thus placing burdens on their fellows, which they 
should bear themselves. 

Every exhortation touching labor he religiously fol- 
lowed himself. He records that at the age of sixty he 
labored hard in his harvest field, and remarks with evident 
pride and satisfaction as follows : 

"I found I could wield the scythe nearly as in the days 
of my youth. It was a day of thankful and delightful con- 
templation. My heart was rilled with thankfulness and 
gratitude to the blessed Author of my existence, in a con- 
sideration of his providential care over me, in preserving me 
in health, and in the possession of my bodily powers, the 
exercise of which were still affording me both profit and 
delight ; and I was doubly thankful for the continued 
exercise of my mental faculties, not only in instructing me 
how to exert and rightly employ my bodily powers, in the 
most useful and advantageous manner, but also in con- 
templating the works of nature and Providence, in the 
blessings and beauties of the field — a volume containing 
more delightful and profitable instructtion than all the 
volumes of mere learning and science in the world. 

"What a vast portion of the joys and comforts of life 
do the idle and slothful deprive themselves of, by running 
into cities and towns, to avoid labouring in the field ; not 
considering that this is one of the principal sources that the 
gracious Creator of the universe has appointed to his 
creature, man, from whence he may derive great temporal 
happiness and delight. It also opens the largest and best 
field of exercise to the contemplative mind, by which it may 
be prepared to meet, when this mortal puts on immortality, 
those immortal joys that will ever be the lot of the faithful 
and industrious." 3 

It will probably be disputed in our time, that those 
who labor and attempt to live in cities enjoy lives of greater 
ease than those who till the soil. 

While Elias recognized the obligation to labor, and 
believed it was a blessed privilege, he had learned in the 

3 Journal of Elias Hicks, p. 185. 13 


school of experience that an over-worked body and an 
over-worried mind tended to spiritual poverty. We quote; 

"The rest of this week was spent in my ordinary- 
vocations. My farming business was very pressing, and it 
being difficult to procure suitable assistance, my mind was 
overburdened with care, which seldom fails of producing 
leanness of spirit in a lesser or greater degree." 4 

As offset to this we quote the following: 

"What a favor it is for such an active creature as man, 
possessed of such powers of body and mind, always to have 
some employment, and something for those powers to act 
upon ; for otherwise they would be useless and dormant, 
and afford neither profit nor delight." 5 

The building of railroads in this country had fairly be- 
gun when Elias Hicks passed away in 1830. Projects had 
been under way for some time, and certain Friends in Balti- 
more, then the center of railroad activity, had become inter- 
ested in the enterprise. In a letter to Deborah and James 
P. Stabler, 6 written in New York, Sixth month 28, 1829, 
Elias expresses himself quite freely regarding the matter. 
He says : "It was a cause of sorrow rather than joy when 
last in Baltimore to find my dear friend P. E. Thomas 7 so 

"Journal, p. 151. 
B Journal, p. 184. 

6 Deborah Stabler was the widow of Dr. William Stabler, the 
latter being a brother of Edward Stabler, of Alexandria, the well- 
known preacher, and close friend of Elias Hicks. Deborah was a re- 
corded minister. James P. was her son. He was chief engineer of 
the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad in its early construction, and. 
was the first general superintendent and chief engineer of the Balti- 
more and Ohio, and built part of the line from Baltimore to Frederick. 
He was the author of a small pamphlet entitled, "The Certain Evidences 
of Practical Religion," published in 1884. He resided at Sandy Spring, 

7 Philip E. Thomas, for many years sat at the head of the Balti- 
more meeting. He was the son of Evan Thomas, of Sandy Spring, 
who was a recorded minister. Philip E. was an importing hardware 


fully engaged in that troublesome business of the railroad, 8 
as I consider his calling to be of a more noble and exalted 
nature than to enlist in such low and groveling concerns. 
For it is a great truth that no man can serve two masters, 
for he will either love the one, and hate the other, or hold 
to the one. and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and 
mammon. The railroad in this case I consider mammon." 
The following is an extract from the same letter : 

"It afforded me very pleasing sensations to be in- 
formed of dear James' improvement in health, but it excited 
some different feeling when informed that he had taken the 
place of Assistant Superintendent of the railroad company, 
a business I conceive that principally belongs to the men 
of this world, but not to the children of light, whose king- 
dom is not of this world; for when we consider that there 
are thousands and tens of thousands who are voluntarily 
enlisted in works that relate to the accommodation of flesh 
and blood which can never inherit the kingdom of heaven." 

The objection to railroads is one of those unaccount- 
able but interesting contradictions which appear in the lives 
of some progressive men. By a sort of irony of fate, Valen- 
tine Hicks, the son-in-law of Elias, a few years after the 
death of the latter, became very much interested in the 
railroad business. The charter of the Long Island Railroad 
Company was granted Fourth month 24, 1834. In this 
document Valentine Hicks was named one of the commis- 
sioners to secure the capital stock, and appoint the first 

merchant, a most successful business man. and the first president of 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In the construction and operation 
of that line of railroad, he was associated with the leading business 
men of Baltimore. He was for many years an elder of Baltimore 

8 The railroad thus referred to by Elias Hicks was undoubtedly 
the section of the Baltimore and Ohio which ran from Baltimore to 
Ellicott's Mills, a distance of 15 miles. It was begun in 1828, and opened 
in Fifth month, 1830. Horses were at first used as motive power. 
This was the first railroad built in the United States. 


Board of Directors. While not the first president of that 
company, he was elected president Sixth month 7, 1837, 
and served in that capacity until Fifth month 21, 1838. 

Elias Hicks at points anticipated the present theory of 
suggestion touching bodily ailment, if he did not forestall 
some of the ideas regarding mental healing, and Christian 
Science. Writing to his son-in-law, Valentine Hicks, from 
Easton, Pa., Eighth month 15, 18 19, he thus expressed 

"And indeed, in a strict sense, the mind or immortal 
spirit of man cannot be affected with disease or sickness, 
being endued with immortal powers ; therefore all its 
apparent weakness lies in mere imagination, giving the 
mind a wrong bias and a wrong direction, but it loses more 
of its real strength, as to acting and doing. For instance, 
if at any time it admits those false surmises and imagina- 
tions, and by them is led to believe that its outward taber- 
nacle is out of health and drawing towards a dissolution, 
and not being ready and willing to part with it, although 
little or nothing may be the disorder of the body, yet so 
powerfully strong is the mind under the influence of these 
wrong surmises that there seems at times to be no power 
in heaven or earth sufficient to arrest its progress, or stop 
its career, until it brings on actual disease, and death to 
the body, which, however, had its beginning principally in 
mere imagination and surmise. Hence we see the absolute 
necessity of thinking less about our mere bodily health, and 
much more about the mind, for if the mind is kept in a line 
of right direction, as it is that in which all its right health 
and strength consisteth, we need not fear any suffering to 
the body. For, if while the mind is under right direction, 
the body is permitted to fall under or into a state of afflic- 
tion or disease, and the mind is kept in a state of due 
arrangement, it will prove a blessing and be sanctified to 
us as such, and in which we shall learn by certain experience 
that all things work together for good to those whose minds 
are preserved under the regulating influence of the love of 
God, which love casteth out all fear." 

Elias Hicks was a firm opponent of the public school 
system, and especially the law which supported such schools 


by general taxation. His views regarding this matter are 
quite fully stated in a letter written Fifth month 24, 1820. 
It was written to Sylvanus Smith, and answered certain in- 
quiries which had evidently been directed to Elias by this 
Friend. Flis objection to public schools, however, was partly 
based on what he considered moral and religious grounds. 
He said he had refrained from sending his children to any 
schools which were not under the immediate care of the 
Society of Friends. Observation, he said, lead him to be- 
lieve that his "children would receive more harm than good 
by attending schools taught by persons of no religious prin- 
ciples, and among children whose parents were of different 
sects, and many very loose and unconcerned and vulgar in 
their lives and conduct." He also assumed that in the public 
schools his children would be demoralized "by the vicious 
conduct of many of the children, and sometimes even the 
teachers, which would be very degrading to their morals, 
and wounding to their tender minds." From his standpoint 
Friends could not consistently "take any part in those dis- 
trict schools, nor receive any part of the bounty given by 
the legislature of the state for their use." 

Touching the question of parental authority and indi- 
vidual freedom, Elias Hicks also had opinions prejudicial 
to the public schools. In the letter under review he said : 

"Believing the law that has established them to be 
arbitrary and inconsistent with the liberty of conscience 
guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and 
derogatory to right parental authority ; as no doubt it is the 
right and duty of every parent to bring up and educate his 
children in that way he thinks is right, independent of the 
control of any authority under heaven (so long as he keeps 
them within the bounds of civil order). As the bringing 
,up and right education of our children is a religious duty, 
and for which we are accountable to none but God only, 
therefore for the magistrate to interfere therewith by 
coercive means is an infringement upon the divine pre- 


The observance of Thanksgiving Day, outside of New 
England, had not become a common thing in the time of 
Elias Hicks. Evidently about 1825, the Governor of New 
York issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation, which caused 
Elias to write an article. It was addressed to The Christian 
Inquirer? and bore heavily against the whole thanksgiving 
scheme, especially when supported by the civil government. 
In his opinion wherever the magistrate recommended an ob- 
servance of Thanksgiving Day, he was simply playing into 
the hands of the ecclesiastical power. We quote : 

"Therefore the Governor's recommendation carries the 
same coercion and force in it, to every citizen, as the rec- 
ommendation of the Episcopal Bishop would to the mem- 
bers of his own church. In this view we have the reason 
why the clergymen in our state call upon the civil magis- 
trate to recommend one of their superstitious ceremonies. 
It is in order to coerce the citizens at large to a compliance 
with their dogmas, and little by little inure them to the 
yoke of ecclesiastical domination. I therefore conceive 
there is scarcely a subject that comes under our notice that 
lies more justly open to rebuke and ridicule than the 
thanksgiving days and fast days that are observed in our 
country, for there is nothing to be found in the writings of 
the New Testament to warrant such formality and super- 
stition, and I fully believe in the way they are conducted 
they are altogether an abomination in the sight of the 
Lord, and tend more abundantly to bring a curse upon our 
nation than a blessing, as they too often end with many 
in festivity and drunkenness." 

In closing his communication Elias says that in issuing 
his proclamation the Governor was simply "doing a piece 
of drudgery" for the clergy. The following, being the last 
paragraph in the communication referred to, sounds very 

9 The Christian Inquirer was a weekly newspaper in New York, 
started in 1824. It was of pronounced liberal tendencies. A good deal 
of its spaee was devoted to Friends, especially during the "separation" 


much like the statements put forward by the extreme 
secularists in our own time : 

"And has he not by recommending a religious act 
united the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, and broken 
the line of partition between them, so wisely established 
by our enlightened Constitution, which in the most positive 
terms forbids any alliance between church and state, and 
is the only barrier for the support of our liberty and inde- 
pendence. For if that is broken down all is lost, and we 
become the vassals of priestcraft, and designing men, who 
are reaching after power by every subtle contrivance to 
domineer over the consciences of their fellow citizens." 

It is not at all surprising that Elias Hicks was opposed 
to Free Masonry. On this subject he expressed himself 
vigorously. This opposition was based upon the secret char- 
acter of the oath, and especially a solemn promise not to 
divulge the "secrets of Masonry, before he knows what the 
secrets are/' 

The anti-masonic movement, being the outcome of the 
mysterious disappearance of William Morgan from Batavia, 
Xew York, was at its height during the last years of Elias 
Hicks. It was claimed that Morgan was probably murdered 
because of a book published by him in 1826, exposing the 
secrets of Masonry. Some of the rumors connected with 
this disappearance account for statements made by Elias 
Hicks in his criticism of the organization. 

Touching the matter of exclusiveness on the part of 
Friends. Elias Hicks was a conservative of the conserva- 
tives. To keep aloof from things not connected with the 
Society he considered a virtue in itself. In referring to a 
meeting he attended in Goshen, Pa., he said: 

"Had to caution Friends against mixing with the people 
in their human policies, and outward forms of government; 
showing that, in all ages, those who were called to be the 
Lord's people had been ruined, or suffered great loss, by 
such associations ; and manifesting clearly by Scripture tes- 


timony, and other records, that our strength and preserva- 
tion consisted in standing alone, and not to be counted 
among the people or nations, who were setting up party, and 
partial interest, one against another, which is the ground of 
war and bloodshed. These are actuated by the spirit of 
pride and wrath, which is always opposed to the true Chris- 
tian spirit, which breathes 'peace on earth, and good will to 
all men/ Those, therefore, who are in the true Christian 
spirit cannot use any coercive force or compulsion by any 
means whatever ; not being overcome with evil, but over- 
coming evil with good." 10 

In the article in which he condemned Masonry, Elias 
Hicks spoke vigorously in criticism of the camp meetings 
held by some of the churches. He called them "night 
revels," and considered them "a very great nuisance to civil 
society." He thought they were promoters of "licentious- 
ness, immorality and drunkenness," and were more or less 
reproachful to the Christian name, "giving much occasion 
for infidels to scoff." 

While at Elizabeth, in New Jersey, Elias wrote a let- 
ter ll to a young man named Samuel Cox. It seems that this 
person contemplated studying for the ministry; that his 
grandmother was a Friend, and Elias labored with the 
g'randson on her account. He said that "human study or 
human science" could not qualify a minister. In fact to 
suppose such a thing was to cast "the greatest possible in- 
dignity on the Divine Being, and on the gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ." Of course it was asserted that ministry came 
only by the power of the Spirit, and much Scripture was 
quoted to prove it. There is little in the writings of Elias 
Hicks to show that he considered that equipping the natural 
powers was helpful in making the spiritual inspiration 

It is evident, however, that Elias was not indifferent 

"Journal, p. 76-77. 

" Letter was dated, Fifth month 12, 1813. 





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to his own intellectual equipment. He was fond of quot- 
ing from books the things which fortified his own position. 
The following shows how he stored his mind with facts, 
from which he drew certain conclusions : 

''Indisposition of body prevented my attending meet- 
ing. I therefore spent the day quietly at home, and in 
reading a portion of Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History of 
the Fifth Century, and which is indeed enough to astonish 
any sensible, considerate man, to think how the professors 
of that day could be hardy enough to call themselves Chris- 
tians, while using every artifice that their human wisdom 
could invent to raise themselves to power and opulence, and 
endeavoring to crush down their opposers by almost every 
cruelty that power, envy and malice could inflict, to the 
entire scandal of the Christian name ; and changing the pure, 
meek, merciful and undefiled religion of Jesus into an im- 
pure, unmerciful, cruel, bloody and persecuting religion. 
For each of those varied sects of professed Christians, in 
their turn, as they got the power of the civil magistrate on 
their side, would endeavor, by the sword, and severe edicts, 
followed by banishment, to reduce and destroy all those who 
dissented from them, although their opinions were not a 
whit more friendly to real, genuine Christianity than the 
tenets of their opposers ; for all were, in great measure, if 
not entirely, adulterated and apostatized from the true spirit 
of Christianity, which breathes peace on earth, and good 
will to men." 12 

Elias Hicks believed that there was a sure way of 
determining conduct, whether it was from "one's own will," 
or whether it proceeded from the divine leading. In regard 
to this matter, he said : 

"But the great error of the generality of professed 
Christians lies in not making a right distinction between the 
works that men do in their own will, and by the leadings 
of their own carnal wisdom, and those works that the true 
believer does, in the will and wisdom of God. For although 
the former, let them consist in what they will, whether in 
prayers, or preaching, or any other devotional exercises, 
are altogether evil ; so on the contrary those of the latter, 

12 Journal, p. 224. 14 


let them consist in what they may, whether in ploughing, 
in reaping, or in any handicraft labor, or in any other 
service, temporal or spiritual, as they will in all be accom- 
panied with the peace and presence of their heavenly Father, 
so all they do will be righteous, and will be imputed to them 
as such." 13 

His contention regarding this matter is possibly more 
clearly stated in the following paragraph : 

"The meeting was large, wherein I had to expose the 
danger of self-righteousness, or a trust in natural religion, 
or mere morality ; showing that it was no more than the 
religion of Atheists, and was generally the product of pride 
and self-will ; and, however good it may appear to the 
natural unregenerate man, is as offensive in the divine 
sight as those more open evils which appear so very re- 
proachful to the eyes of men. I was favored by the spirit 
of truth, in a large, searching testimony, to the convicting 
and humbling many hearts, and comfort of the faithful." 14 

This is not unlike statements often made in modern 
revivals, touching the absolute uselessness of good works, 
without the operation of divine grace, in bringing salvation. 

A broader view of goodness and its sources seems to 
have been taken by Clement, of Alexandria 15 who said : "For 
God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, 
as of the Old and New Testament; and of others by conse- 
quence, as philosophy. Perchance, too, philosophy was 
given to the Greeks directly and primarily, till the Lord 
should call the Greeks. For this was a schoolmaster to 
bring 'the Hellenic mind,' as the law, the Hebrews 'to 
Christ.' " 16 

"Journal, p. 218. 

14 Meeting at Uwchlan, Pa., Tenth month 22, 1798. Journal, p. 76. 

1B Titus Flavius Clemens, called sometimes St. Clement, and Clem- 
ent of Alexandria in Church history, was horn ci her at Athens or 
Alexandria about A. D 153, and died about A. D. 220. He early em- 
braced Christianity, and was among the most learned and philosophical 
of the Christian fathers. 

;16 "Anti-Nicene Fathers," Vol. Tl. p. 305. 

Some Points of Doctrine. 

Elias Hicks had ideas of the future life, salvation, re- 
wards and punishments, sometimes original, and in some 
respects borrowed or adapted from prevalent opinions. But 
in all conclusions reached he seems to have thought his own 
way out, and was probably unconscious of having been a 
borrower at all. He believed unfalteringly in the immor- 
tality of the soul, and held that the soul of man is immortal, 
because it had its origin in an immortal God. Every sin 
committed "is a transgression against his immutable and un- 
changeable law, and is an immortal sin, as it pollutes and 
brings death on the immortal soul of man, which nothing 
in heaven nor in the earth but God alone can extinguish 
or forgive, and this he will never do, but upon his own 
righteous and merciful conditions, which consist in nothing 
more nor less than sincere repentance and amendment of 
life." 1 

It will be noted that this statement was made near the 
close of his career, and has been purposely selected because 
it undoubtedly expressed his final judgment in the matter. 
In all probability the words used were not meant to be 
taken literally, such for instance as those referring to the 
"death" of the soul. There is little, if any reason to think 
that Elias Hicks believed in the annihilation of the sinner. 

Touching sin he further explained his position. What- 
ever God creates is "immutably good." "Therefore if there 

1 From letter addressed to "A Friend," name not given, written 
at Jericho, Second month 22, 1828. 



is any such thing as sin and iniquity in the world, then God 
has neither willed it nor ordained it." 2 His position regard- 
ing this point caused him to antagonize and repudiate the 
doctrine of foreordination. From his standpoint this in- 
volved the creation of evil by the Almighty, a thoroughly 
preposterous supposition. Again, he held that if God had, 
"previous to man's creation, willed and determined all of 
his actions, then certainly every man stands in the same state 
of acceptance with him, and a universal salvation must take 
place : which I conceive the favorers of foreordination would 
be as unwilling as myself to believe." 3 

Three years after the declaration quoted above, Elias 
Hicks wrote a letter 4 to a person known as "J. N.," who 
was a believer in universal salvation. In this letter he re- 
vives his idea that foreordination and universal salvation 
are twin heresies, both equally mischievous. This letter 
is very long, containing nearly 4,000 words. The bulk of it 
deals with the theory of predestination, while some of it 
relates to the matter of sin and penalty. At one point the 
letter is censorious, nearly borders on the dogmatic, and is 
scarcely kind. We quote : 

"Hadst thou, in thy researches after knowledge, been 
concerned to know the first step of wisdom — the right 
knowledge of thyself — such an humbling view of thy own 
insufficiency and entire ignorance of the Divine Being, and 
all his glorious attributes, would, I trust, have preserved 
thee from falling into thy present errors. Errors great 
indeed, and fatal in their consequences ; for if men were 
capable of believing with confidence thy opinions, either as 
regards the doctrine of unconditional predestination and 
election, or the doctrine of universal salvation, both of 
which certainly and necessarily resolve in one, who could 
any longer call any thing he has his own? for all would 

2 Journal, p. t6i. 

* From funeral sermon delivered in 1814. Journal, p. 161. 

'Letter dated Baltimore, Tenth mouth, 1817. 


fall a prey to the villains and sturdy rogues of this belief. 
And, indeed, a belief of these opinions would most assuredly 
make thousands more of that description than there already 
are ; as every temptation to evil, to gratify the carnal de- 
sires, would be yielded to, as that which was ordained 
to be ; and of course would be considered as something 
agreeable to God's good pleasure ; and therefore not only 
our goods and chattels would become a prey to every 
ruffian of this belief, but even our wives and daughters 
would fall victims to the superior force of the abandoned 
and profligate, as believing they could do nothing but what 
God had ordained to be. But we are thankful in the senti- 
ment that no rational, intelligent being can possibly em- 
brace, in full faith, these inconsistent doctrines ; as they 
are founded on nothing but supposition ; and supposition 
can never produce real belief, or a faith that any rational 
creature can rely upon." 5 

We make no attempt to clear up the logical connection 
between the doctrine of foreordination and the theory of 
universal salvation, for it is by no means clear that the two 
necessarily belong together. From the reasoning of Elias 
Hicks it would seem that he considered salvation a trans- 
action which made a fixed and final condition for the soul 
at death, whereas the Universalist theory simply provides 
for a future turning of all souls toward God. Surely the 
supposition that the holding of the views of "J. N." would 
bring the moral disorder and disaster outlined by his critic 
had not then been borne out by the facts, and has not since. 
Neither the believers in foreordination or universal salva- 
tion have been shown worse than other men, or more socially 

"Sin," he says, "arises entirely out of the corrupt inde- 
pendent will of man ; and which will is not of God's crea- 
ting, but springs up and has its origin in man's disobedience 
and transgression, by making a wrong use of his liberty." 6 

5 "Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 28. 
""Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 30. 


As the sin is of man's voluntary commission, the penalty is 
also to be charged to the sinner, and not to God. On this 
point Elias Hicks was clear in his reasoning and in his con- 
clusions : 

"Hence those who make their election to good, and 
choose to follow the teachings of the inward law of the 
spirit of God, are of course leavened into the true nature 
of God, and consequently into the happiness of God. For 
nothing but that which is of the nature of God can enjoy the 
happiness of God. But he who makes his election, or 
choice, to turn away from God's law and spirit, and govern 
himself or is governed by his own will and spirit, becomes 
a corrupt tree and although the same justice, wisdom, 
power, mercy and love are dispensed to this man as to the 
other, yet by his contrary nature, which has become fleshly, 
by following his fleshly inclinations, he brings forth corrupt 
fruit." 7 

Manifestly the idea that the Almighty punishes men 
for his own glory had no place in the thinking of the Jericho 

The theory of sin and penalty held by Elias Hicks 
necessarily led him to hold opinions regarding rewards and 
punishments, and the place and manner of their application, 
at variance with commonly accepted notions. In fact, the 
apparent irregularity of his thinking in this particular was 
one of the causes of concern on his behalf on the part of 
his captious critics and some of his friends. One of the 
latter had evidently written him regarding this matter, and 
his reply is before us. 8 From it we quote : 

"As to the subject relative to heaven and hell, I sup- 
pose what gave rise to that part of my communication 
(although I have now forgotten the particulars) was a 
concern that at that time as well as many other times has 

7 "Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 33. 

K Le'ter dated Jericho. Third month 14. 1808. 


sorrowfully impressed my mind, in observing the great 
ignorance and carnality that was not only prevailing among 
mankind at large, but more especially in finding it to be 
the case with many professing with us in relation to those 
things. An ignorance and carnality that, in my opinion, 
has been one great cause of the prevailing Atheism and 
Deism that now abounds among the children of men. For 
what reason or argument could a professed Christian bring 
forward to convince an Atheist or Deist that there is such 
a place as heaven as described and circumscribed in some 
certain limits and place in some distant and unknown 
region as is the carnal idea of too many professing Chris- 
tianity, and even of many, I fear, of us? Or such a place 
as hell, or a gulf located in some interior part of this little 
terraqueous globe? But when the Christian brings forward 
to the Atheist or Deist reasons and arguments founded on 
indubitable certainty, things that he knows in his own ex- 
perience every day through the powerful evidence of the 
divine law-giver in his own heart, he cannot fail of yield- 
ing his assent, for he feels as he goes on in unbelief and 
hardness of heart he is plunging himself every day deeper 
and deeper into that place of torment, and let him go 
whithersoever he w r ill, his hell goes with him. He can no 
more be rid of it than he can be rid of himself. And 
although he flies to the rocks and mountains to fall on him, 
to deliver him from his tremendous condition, yet he finds 
all is in vain, for where God is, there hell is always to the 
sinner ; according to that true saying of our dear Lord, 'this 
is the condemnation of the world that light is come into the 
world, but men love darkness rather than the light, because 
their deeds are evil.' Now God, or Christ (who are one in 
a spiritual sense), is this light that continually condemns 
the transgressor. Therefore, where God or Christ is, there 
is hell always to the sinner, and God, according to Scripture 
and the everyday experience of every rational creature, is 
everywhere present, for he fills all things, and by him all 
things consist. And as the sinner finds in himself and 
knows in his own experience that there is a hell, and one 
that he cannot possibly escape while he remains a sinner, 
so likewise the righteous know, and that by experience, 
that there is a heaven, but they know of none above the 
outward clouds and outward atmosphere. They have no 
experience of any such, but they know a heaven where 
God dwells, and know a sitting with him at seasons in 
heavenly places in Christ Jesus." 


It will be remembered that Elias based salvation on 
repentance and amendment of life, but the bulk of his ex- 
pression would seem to indicate that he held to the idea that 
repentance must come during this life. In fact, an early 
remark of his gives clear warrant for this conclusion. 9 He 
does not seem to have ever adopted the theory that continuity 
of life carried with it continuation of opportunity touching 
repentance and restoration of the soul. 

From the twentieth century standpoint views like the 
foregoing would scarcely cause a ripple of protest in any 
well-informed religious circles. But eighty years ago the 
case was different. A material place for excessively mate- 
rial punishment of the soul, on account of moral sin and 
spiritual turpitude, was essential to orthodox standing in 
practically every branch of the Christian church, with pos- 
sibly two or three exceptions. Elias Hicks practically 
admits that in the Society of Friends not a few persons 
held to the gross and materialistic conceptions which he 
criticised and repudiated. 

The question of personal immortality was more than 
once submitted to him for consideration. After certain 
Friends began to pick flaws with his ideas and theories, he 
was charged with being a doubter regarding nearly all the 
common Christian affirmations, immortality included. 
There was little reason for misunderstanding or misrep- 
resenting him in this particular, for, however he failed to 
make himself understood touching other points of doctrine, 
he was perfectly clear on this point. In a letter to Charles 
Stokes, of Rancocas, N. J., written Fourth month 3, 1829, 
he said : 

"Can it be possibly necessary for me to add anything 
further, to manifest my full and entire belief of the immor- 
tality of the soul of man? Surely, what an ignorant creature 

See page 23 of this book. 


must that man be that hath not come to the clear and 
full knowledge of that in himself. Does not every man feel 
a desire fixed in his very nature after happiness, that urges 
him on in a steady pursuit after something to satisfy this 
desire, and does he not find that all the riches and honor 
and glory of this world, together with every thing that is 
mortal, falls infinitely short of satisfying this desire? which 
proves it to be immortal ; and can any thing, or being, that 
is not immortal in itself, receive the impress of an immortal 
desire upon it? Surely not. Therefore, this immortal de- 
sire of the soul of man never can be fully satisfied until 
it comes to be established in a state of immortality and 
eternal life, beyond the grave." 10 

There are not many direct references to immortality 
in the published sermons, although inferences in that direc- 
tion are numerous. In a sermon at Darby, Pa., Twelfth 
month 7, 1826, he declared: "We see then that the great 
business of our lives is 'to lay up treasure in heaven.' " X1 In 
this case and others like it he evidently means treasure in 
the spiritual world. In his discourses he frequently re- 
ferred to "our immortal souls" in a way to leave no doubt 
as to his belief in a continuity of life. His reference to the 
death of his young* sons leave no room for doubt in the 
matter. 12 

In speaking of the death of his wife, both in his Journal 
and in his private correspondence, his references all point 
to the future life. "Her precious spirit," he said, "I trust 
and believe has landed safely on the angelic shore." Again, 
"being preserved together fifty-eight years in one unbroken 
bond of endeared affection, which seemed if possible to 
increase with time to the last moment of her life; and 

] " "Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 218. 

11 "The Quaker," Vol. IV, p. 127. 

12 See page 61 of this book. 15 


which neither time nor distance can lessen or dissolve ; but 
in the spiritual relation I trust it will endure forever." 13 

During the last ten years of the life of Elias Hicks he 
was simply overburdened answering questions and explain- 
ing his position touching a multitude of views charged 
against him by his critics and defamers. Among the matters 
thus brought to his attention was the miraculous conception 
of Jesus, and the various beliefs growing out of that doc- 
trine. In an undated manuscript found among his papers 
and letters, and manifestly not belonging to a date earlier 
than 1826 or 1827, he pretty clearly states his theory touch- 
ing this delicate subject. In this document he is more 
definite than he is in some of his published statements 
relating to the same matter. He asserts that there is a 
difference between "begetting and creating." He scouts 
as revolting the conception that the Almighty begat Jesus, 
as is the case in the animal function of procreation. On 
the other hand, he said : "But, as in the beginning of crea- 
tion, he spake the word and it was done, so by his almighty 
power he spake the word and by it created the seed of man 
in the fleshly womb of Mary." In other words, the miracu- 
lous conception was a creation and not the act of begetting. 

In his correspondence he repeatedly asserted that he 
had believed in the miraculous conception from his youth 
up. To Thomas Willis, who was one of his earliest ac- 
cusers, he said that "although there appeared to me as 
much, or more, letter testimony in the account of the four 
Evangelists against as for the support of that miracle, yet 
it had not altered my belief therein." 14 It has to be ad- 
mitted that the miraculous conception held by Elias Hicks 
was scarcely the doctrine of the creeds, or that held by 
evangelical Christians in the early part of the nineteenth 

18 Journal, p. 425. 

""Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 179. 


century. His theory may be more rational than the popular 
conception and may be equally miraculous, but it was not 
the same proposition. 

Whether Elias considered this a distinction without a 
difference we know not, but it is very certain that he did not 
consider the miracle or the dogma growing out of it a vital 
matter. He declared that a "belief therein was not an 
essential to salvation." 15 His reason for this opinion was 
that "whatever is essential to the salvation of the souls of 
men is dispensed by a common creator to every rational 
creature under heaven." 16 No hint of a miraculous con- 
ception, he held, had been revealed to the souls of men. 

It is possible that in the minds of the ultra Orthodox, 
to deny the saving value of a belief in the miraculous con- 
ception, although admitting it as a fact, or recasting it as a 
theory, was a more reprehensible act of heresy than deny- 
ing the dogma entirely. Manifestly Elias Hicks was alto- 
gether too original in his thinking to secure his own peace 
and comfort in the world of nineteenth-century theology. 

When we consider the theory of the divinity of Christ, 
and the theory of the incarnation, we find Elias Hicks 
taking the affirmative side, but even here it is questionable 
if he was affirming the popular conception. Touching these 
matters he put himself definitely on record in 1827 in a 
letter written to an unnamed Friend. In this letter he says : 

"As to the divinity of Christ, the son of the virgin— 
when he had arrived to a full state of sonship in the spiritual 
generation, he was wholly swallowed up into the divinity 
of his heavenly Father, and was one with his Father, with 
only this difference : his Father's divinity was underived. 
being self-existent, but the son's divinity was altogether 
derived from the Father; for otherwise he could not be the 
son of God, as in the moral relation, to be a son of man, 

15 "Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 178. 
:6 "Letters of Elias Hicks," p. 178. 


the son must be begotten by one father, and he must be in 
the same nature, spirit and likeness of his father, so as to 
say, I and my father are one in all those respects. But this 
was not the case with Jesus in the spiritual relation, until 
he had gone through the last institute of the law dispen- 
sation, viz., John's watery baptism, and had received addi- 
tional power from on high, by the descending of the holy 
ghost upon him, as he came up out of the water. He then 
witnessed the fulness of the second birth, being now born 
into the nature, spirit and likeness of the heavenly Father, 
and God gave witness of it to John, saying, 'This is my 
beloved son, in whom I am well pleased/ And this agrees 
with Paul's testimony, where he assures us that as many 
as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of 
God." 17 

Just as he repudiated material localized places of re- 
ward and punishment, Elias Hicks disputed the presence in 
the world of a personal evil spirit, roaming around seeking 
whom he might ensnare and devour. In fact, in his the- 
ology there was no tinge of the Persian dualism. Satan, 
from his standpoint, had no existence outside man. He 
was simply a figure to illustrate the evil propensity in men. 
In the estimation of the ultra Orthodox to claim that there 
was no personal devil, who tempted our first parents in 
Eden, was second only in point of heresy to denying the 
existence of Gocl himself — the two persons both being es- 
sential parts in the theological system to which they te- 
naciously held. 

Touching this matter he thus expressed himself : 
"And as to what is called a devil or satan, it is something 
within us, that tempts us to go counter to the commands of 
God, and our duty to him and our fellow creatures ; and the 
Scriptures tell us there are many of them, and that Jesus 
cast seven out of one woman." 1S 

17 "The Quaker;' Vol. IV, p. 284. 

iK From letter to Charles Stokes, Fourth month 3, 1829. "Letters 
of Elias Hicks," p. 217. 


He was charged with being a Deist, and an infidel of 
the Thomas Paine stripe, yet from his own standpoint 
there was no shadow of truth in any of these charges. His 
references to Atheism and Deism already cited in these pages 
afford evidence on this point. In 1798 he was at Gap in 
Pennsylvania, and in referring to his experience there he 
said : 

"Whilst in this neighborhood my mind was brought 
into a state of deep exercise and travail, from a sense of the 
great turning away of many of us, from the law and the 
testimony, and the prevailing of a spirit of great infidelity 
and deism among the people, and darkness spreading over 
the minds of many as a thick veil. It w r as a time in which 
Thomas Paine's Age of Reason (falsely so called) was much 
attended to in those parts ; and some, who were members 
in our Society, as I was informed, were captivated by his 
dark insinuating address, and were ready almost to make 
shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Under a sense 
thereof my spirit was deeply humbled before the majesty 
of heaven, and in the anguish of my soul I said, 'spare thy 
people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach,' and 
suffer not thy truth to fall in the streets." 19 

Touching his supposed Unitarianism, there are no di- 
rect references to that theory in his published works. A 
letter written by Elias Hicks to William B. Irish, 20 Second 
month 11, 1821, is about the only reference to the matter. 
In this letter he says : 

"In regard to the Unitarian doctrine, I am too much a 
stranger to their general tenets to give a decided senti- 
ment, but according to the definition given of them by 

VJ Journal, p. 70. 

20 William B. Irish lived in Pittsburg, and was a disciple of Elias 
Hicks, as he confessed to his spiritual profit. In a letter written to 
Elias from Philadelphia, Eleventh month 21, T823, he said: ''I tell 
you, you are the first man that ever put my mind in search of heavenly 
food." Whether he ever united with the Society we are not informed, 
although Elias expressed the hope that he might see his way clear to 
do so. 


Dyche in his dictionary, I think it is more consistent and 
rational than the doctrine of the trinity, which I think fairly 
makes out three Gods. But as I have lately spent some time 
in perusing the ancient history of the church, in which I 
find that Trinitarians, Unitarians, Arians, Nestorians and a 
number of other sects that sprung up in the night of apos- 
tacy, as each got into power they cruelly persecuted each 
other, by which they evidenced that they had all apostatized 
from the primitive faith and practice, and the genuine spirit 
of Christianity, hence I conceive there is no safety in joining 
with any of those sects, as their leaders I believe are gen- 
erally each looking to their own quarter for gain. There- 
fore our safety consists in standing alone (waiting at 
Jerusalem) that is in a quiet retired state, similar to the 
disciples formerly, until we receive power from on high, or 
until by the opening of that divine spirit (or comforter, a 
manifestation of which is given to every man and woman 
to profit withal) we are led into the knowledge of the 
truth agreeably to the doctrine of Jesus to his disciples." 

In regard to the death and resurrection of Jesus, Elias 
Hicks considered himself logically and scripturally sound, 
although his ideas may not have squared with any prevalent 
theological doctrines. In reply to the query, "By what 
means did Jesus suffer?" he answered unhesitatingly, "By 
the hands of wicked men." A second query was to the 
effect, "Did God send him into the world purposely to suffer 
death?" Here is the answer: 

"By no means; but to live a righteous and godly life 
(which was the design and end of God's creating man in 
the beginning), and thereby be a perfect example to such 
of mankind as should come to the knowledge of him and of 
his perfect life. For if it was the purpose and will of God 
that he should die by the hands of wicked men, then the 
Jews, by crucifying him, would have done God's will, and 
of course would all have stood justified in his sight, which 

could not be." "But the shedding of his 

blood by the wicked scribes and Pharisees, and people of 
Tsrael, had a particular effect on the Jewish nation, as by 
this the topstone and worst of all their crimes, was filled up 
the measure of their iniquities, and which put an end to that 
dispensation, together with its law and covenant. That as 


John's baptism summed up in one, all the previous water 
baptisms of that dispensation, and put an end to them, 
which he sealed with his blood, so this sacrifice of the body 
of Jesus Christ, summed up in one all the outward atoning 
sacrifices of the shadowy dispensation and put an end to 
them all, thereby abolishing the law having previously ful- 
filled all its righteousness, and, as saith the apostle, 'He 
blotted out the handwriting of ordinances, nailing them to 
his cross ;' having put an end to the law that commanded 
them, with all its legal sins, and abolished all its legal pen- 
alties, so that all the Israelites that believed on him after 
he exclaimed on the cross 'It is finished,' might abstain 
from all the rituals of their law, such as circumcision, water 
baptisms, outward sacrifices, Seventh-day Sabbaths, and all 
their other holy days, etc." 21 

Continuing, he says : "Now all this life, power and will 
of man, must be slain and die on the cross spiritually, as 
Jesus died on the cross outwardly, and this is the true atone- 
ment, of whichthat outward atonement was a clear and 
full type." For the scriptural proof of his contention he 
quotes Romans VI, 3 : 4. He claimed that the baptism re- 
ferred to by Paul was spiritual, and the newness of life to 
follow must also be spiritual. 

The resurrection was also spiritualized, and given an 
internal, rather than an external, significance. Its intent 
was to awaken in "the believer a belief in the sufficiency of 
an invisible power, that was able to do any thing and every 
thing that is consistent with justice, mercy and truth, and 
that would conduce to the exaltation and good of his crea- 
ture man." 

"Therefore the resurrection of the dead body of Jesus 
that could not possibly of itself create in itself a power to 
loose the bonds of death, and which must consequently 
have been the work of an invisible power, points to and is 
a shadow of the resurrection of the soul that is dead in tres- 

21 All of the extracts above are from a letter to Dr. Nathan Shoe- 
maker, of Philadelphia, written Third month 31, 1823. See "Foster's 
Report," pp. 422-23. 


passes and sins, and that hath no capacity to quicken itself., 
but depends wholly on the renewed influence and quick- 
ening power of the spirit of God. For a soul dead in tres- 
passes and sins can no more raise a desire of itself for a 
renewed quickening of the divine life in itself than a dead 
body can raise a desire of itself for a renewal of natural 
life ; but both equally depend on the omnipotent presiding 
power of the spirit of God, as is clearly set forth by the 
prophet under the similitude of the resurrection of dry 
bones." Ezekiel, 37 : l. 22 

"Hence the resurrection of the outward fleshly body of 
Jesus and some few others under the law dispensation, as 
manifested to the external senses of man, gives full evi- 
dence as a shadow, pointing to the sufficiency of the divine 
invisible power of God to raise the soul from a state of 
spiritual death into newness of life and into the enjoyment 
of the spiritual substance of all the previous shadows of 
the law state. And by the arising of this Sun of Righteous- 
ness in the soul all shadows flee away and come to an end. 
and the soul presses forward, under its divine influence, 
into that that is within the veil, where our forerunner, even 
Jesus, has entered for us, showing us the way into the 
holiest of holies." 23 

We have endeavored to give such a view of the doctri- 
nal points covered^ as will g'ive a fair idea of what Elias 
Hicfe believed. Whether tliey were unsound opinions, such 
as should have disrupted the Society of Friends; and nearly 
shipwreck it on a sea of bitterness, we leave for the reader 
to decide. It should be stated, however, that the opinions 
herein set forth did not, by any means, constitute the sub- 
ject matter of all, or possibly a considerable portion of the 
sermons he preached. There is room for the inquiry in our 
time whether a large amount of doctrinal opinion presented 
in our meetings for worship, even though it be of the kind 
in which the majority apparently believe, would not have a 
dividing and scattering effect. 

22 "The Quaker." Vol. IV, p. 286. Letter of Elias Hicks to an 
unknown friend. 

23 "The Quaker." Vol. IV, pp. 286-287. Letter of Elias Hicks to 
,-'ii unknown friend. 




Before the Division. 

No biography of Elias Hicks could be even approxi- 
mately adequate which ignored the division in the Society 
of Friends in 1827-1828, commonly, but erroneously, called 
"the separation." While his part in the trouble has been 
greatly exaggerated, inasmuch as he was made the storm- 
center of the controversy by his opponents, to consider the 
causes and influences which led to the difficulty, especially 
as they were either rightly or wrongly made to apply to 
Elias Hicks, is vital to a study of his life, and an apprecia^ 
tion of his labors. 

We shall not be able to understand the matter at all. 
unless we can in a measure take ourselves back to the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century, and as far as possible 
appreciate the thought and life of that time. We must re- 
member that a system of dogmatic theology, unqualified 
and untempered by any of the findings of modern scholar- 
ship, was the central and dominating influence in the re- 
ligious world. Authority of some sort was the source of 
religious belief, and uniformity of doctrine the basis of 
religious fellowship. 

The aftermath of the French Revolution appeared in 
a period of religious negation. Destructive, rather than 
constructive criticism was the ruling passion of the un- 
churched world. The conservative mind was burdened with 
apprehension, and the fear of a chaos of faith possessed the 
minds of the preachers, the theologians and the communi- 
cants of the so-called Orthodox Christian churches. The 
Unitarian uprising in Xew England had hopelessly divided 

121 16 


the historic church of the Puritans, and the conservative 
Friends saw in every advance in thought the breaking up 
of what they considered the foundations of religion, and 
fear possessed them accordingly. 

But more important than this is the fact that Friends 
had largely lost the historic perspective, touching their own 
origin. They had forgotten that their foundations were 
laid in a revolt against a prevalent theology, and the evil of 
external authority in religion. From being persecuted they 
had grown popular and prosperous. They therefore shrank 
from change in zion, and from the opposition and ostracism 
which always had been the fate of those who broke with 
approved and established religious standards. Without 
doubt they honored the heroism and respected the sacrifices 
of the fathers as the "first spreaders of truth." But they 
had neither the temper nor the taste to be alike heroic, in 
making Quakerism a progressive spirit, rather than a final 
refuge of a traditional religion. 

An effort was made by the opponents of Elias Hicks 
to make it appear that what they were pleased to call his 
"unsoundness in doctrine," came late in life, and somewhat 
suddenly. But for this claim there is little if any valid evi- 
dence. His preaching probably underwent little vital change 
throughout his entire ministry. Turner, the English his- 
torian, says : "But the facts remain that until near the close 
of his long life Hicks was in general esteem, that there is 
no sign anywhere in his writings of a change of opinions, 
or new departure in his teaching." x 

There is unpublished correspondence which confirms 
the opinion of Turner. This is true touching what might 
be called his theological as well as his sociological notions. 

In a letter written to Elias Hicks in 1805, by James 

"The Quakers," Frederick Starrs Turner, p. 293. 


Mott, Sr., 2 reference is made to Elias having denied the 
absolutely saving character of the Scriptures. In this con- 
nection the letter remarks: "I conceive it is no matter how 
highly people value the Scriptures, provided they can only 
be convinced that the spirit that gave them forth is superior 
to them, and to be their rule and guide instead of them." 

In 1806, in a sermon at Nine Partners, in Dutchess 
County, New York, as reported by himself, he declared that 
men can only by "faithful attention and adherence to the 
aforesaid divine principle, the light within, come to know 
and believe the certainty of those excellent Scripture doc- 
trines, of the coming, life, righteous works, sufferings, 
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our blessed pattern ; 
and that it is by obedience to this inward light only that 
we are prepared for admittance into the heavenly king- 
dom." 3 

It seems, however, that Stephen Grellet, 4 if we may 
take the authority of his biographers, Hodgson 5 and 
Guest, 6 as early as 1808, was fearful of the orthodoxy of 
Elias Hicks, and probably based his fear on extracts like 
the passage cited above. Whatever may be imagined to 
the contrary, it is pretty certain that at no time for forty 
years before his death did Elias Hicks preach doctrine that 
would have been satisfactory to the orthodox theologians 

" This James Mott was the father of Anne, who married Adam, 
the father of James, the husband of Lucretia. James Mott, Sr. died 
in 1823. 

:i Journal, p. 122. 

* Stephen Grellet. born in Limoges, France. Eleventh month 2. 
1773. A scion of the French nobility. Became interested in the Society 
of Friends when about twenty years of age. Came to America in 
1795, and was recorded a minister in Philadelphia, in 1798 Became 
a New York business man in 1799. Made extensive religious visits in 
various countries in Europe, and in many American states. Was also 
active in philanthropic work. He died at Burlington, N. J-, in 1855. 
In his theology he was entirely evangelical. 

5 "Life of Stephen Grellet," Hodgson, p. 142. 
8 "Stephen Grellet," by William Guest, p. 73. 


of his time, although he did not always antagonize the 
dogmas of the churches. 

If Stephen Grellet ever had any personal interview 
with Elias Hicks regarding his "unsoundness," the matter 
was ignored by the latter. In Eighth month, 1808, some 
months after it is claimed the discovery was made by 
Grellet, the two men, with other Friends, were on a religious 
visit in parts of New England. In a letter to his wife, 
dated Danby,- Vt.,, Eighth month 26, 1808, Elias says: 
"Stephen Grellet, Gideon Seaman, Esther Griffin and Ann 
Mott we left yesterday morning at a town called Middle- 
bury, about eighteen miles short of this place, Stephen feel- 
ing a concern to appoint a meeting among the town's people 
of that place." Evidently no very great barrier existed 
between the two men at that time. 

In any event no disposition seemed to exist to inaugu- 
rate a theological controversy in the Society of Friends, or 
to erect a standard of fellowship other than spiritual unity, 
until a decade after the claimed concern of Stephen Grellet. 
It appears that in 18 18, Phebe Willis, wife of Thomas 
Willis, a recorded minister of Jericho Monthly Meeting, 
had a written communication with Elias, touching his doc- 
trinal "soundness," Phebe being an elder. That the oppo- 
sition began in Jericho, and that it was confined to the 
Willis family and one other in that meeting, seems to be a 
fairly well attested fact. In 1829, after the division in the 
Society had been accomplished, Elias Hicks wrote a letter 
to a friend giving a short history of the beginning of the 
trouble in Jericho, from which we make the following 
extract : 

''The beginning of the rupture in our yearly meeting 
had its rise in our particular monthly meeting, and I have 
full evidence before me of both its rise and progress. The 
first shadow of complaint against me as to my doctrines 
was made by Thomas Willis, a member and minister of our 


own preparative meeting. He manifested his first uneasi- 
ness at the close of one of our own meetings nearly in these 
words, between him and myself alone. 'That he appre- 
hended that I, in my public communication, lowered down 
the character of Jeslis and the Scriptures of truth.' My 
reply to him was that I had placed them both upon the 
very foundation they each had placed themselves, and that 
I dare not place them any higher or lower. At the same 
time the whole monthly meeting, except he and his wife, 
as far as I knew, were in full unity with me, both as to 
my ministry and otherwise, but as they were both members 
of the meeting of ministers and elders they made the first 
public disclosure of their uneasiness. Thomas had an 
ancient mother, likewise a minister, that lived in the house 
with them ; they so far overcame her better judgment as to 
induce her to take a part with them, although she was a 
very amiable and useful member, and one that I had always 
a great esteem for, and we had been nearly united together 
in gospel fellowship, both in public meetings and those for 
discipline, for forty years and upward." 7 

The meeting, through a judicious committee, tried to 
quiet the fears of Thomas Willis and wife, and bring them 
in unity with the vastly major portion of the meeting, but 
without success. These Friends being persistent in their 
opposition, they were suspended from the meeting of min- 
isters and elders, Ibut were permitted to retain their mem- 
bership in the Society. 

Letter to Johnson Legg, dated Jericho, Twelfth month 15, 1829. 

First Trouble in Philadelphia. 

Transferring the story of the opposition to the min- 
istry of Elias Hicks to Philadelphia, it would appear that 
its first public manifestation occurred in 1819. During this 
year he made his fifth somewhat extended religious visit 
to the meetings within the bounds of Philadelphia Yearly 
Meeting. Elias was attending the monthly meeting then 
held in the Pine Street meeting-house, and obtained liberty 
to visit the women's meeting. While absent on this concern, 
the men's meeting did the unprecedented thing of adjourn- 
ing, the breaking up of the meeting being accomplished by 
a few influential members. For a co-ordinate branch of a 
meeting for discipline to close while service was being per- 
formed in the allied branch in accord with regular procedure 
was considered irregular, if not unwarranted. The real 
inspiring cause for this conduct has been stated as follows 
by a contemporary writer : 

"An influential member of this meeting who had 
abstained from the produce of slave labor came to the con- 
clusion that this action was the result of his own will. He 
therefore became very sensitive and irritable touching ref- 
erences to the slavery question, and very bitter against the 
testimony of Elias Hicks. It is believed that this was one 
of the causes which led to the affront of Elias Hicks in the 
Pine Street Meeting aforesaid." 1 

It was claimed in the famous New fersev chancerv 

' "A review of the general and partieular causes which have 
produced the late disorders and divisions in the Yearly Meeting of 
Friends, held in Philadelphia," James Cockhurn, 182Q, p. 60. 



case 2 by the Orthodox Friends, that there was precedent 
for adjourning a meeting while a visiting minister in proper 
order was performing service in a co-ordinate branch of the 
Society. Be that as it may, the weight of evidence warrants 
the conclusion that the incident at Pine Street was intended 
as an affront to Elias Hicks. The conservative elements in 
Philadelphia had evidently made up their minds that the 
time had come to visit their displeasure upon the Long 
Island preacher. 

The incident referred to above must have occurred in 
the latter part of Tenth month. Elias says in his Journal, 
after mentioning his arrival in Philadelphia : "We were at 
two of their monthly meetings and their quarterly meet- 
ing." 8 He makes no mention of the unpleasant occurrence. 

There seems to have been no further appearance of 
trouble in the latitude of Philadelphia until Eighth month, 
1822. This time opposition appeared in what was evidently 
an irregular gathering of part of the Meeting for Sufferings, 
At this meeting Jonathan Evans is reported to have said : 
"I understand that Elias Hicks is coming on here on his 
way to Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Friends know that he 
preaches doctrines contrary to the doctrines of our Society ; 
that he has given uneasiness to his friends at home, and 
they can't stop him, and unless we can stop him here he 
must go on." 4 This statement was only partially true, to 
say the most possible for it. But a small minority of Elias' 

2 Foster's report, many times referred to in these pages, is a two- 
volume work, containing the evidence and the exhibits in a case in 
the New Jersey Court of Chancery. The examinations began Sixth 
month 2, 1830, in Camden, N. J., before J. J. Foster, Master and Ex- 
aminer in Chancery, and continued from time to time, closing Fourth 
month 13, 1831. The case was brought to determine who should possess 
the school fund, of the Friends' School, at Crosswick, N. J. The 
decision awarded the fund to the Orthodox. 

3 Journal, p. 382. 

4 "Foster's Report," pp. 355~356. 


home meeting were in any way "uneasy" about him, what- 
ever may have been the character of his preaching. It 
stands to reason that had there been a general and united 
opposition to the ministry of Elias Hicks in his monthly 
meeting or in the New York Yearly Meeting at any time 
before the "separation," he could not have performed the 
service involved in his religious visits. It will also appear 
from the foregoing that the few opponents of Elias Hicks 
on Long Island had evidently planned to invoke every 
possible and conceivable influence, at the center of Quak- 
erism in Philadelphia, to silence this popular and well-known 
preacher. At what point the influence so disposed became 
of general effect in the polity of the Society only incidentally 
belongs to the purpose of this book. 

Out of the • unofficial body 5 above mentioned, about a 
dozen in number, a small and "select" committee was ap- 
pointed. The object was apparently to deal with Elias for 
remarks said to have been made by him at New York 
Yearly Meeting in Fifth month of that year, and reported 
by Joseph Whitall. 

The minute under which Elias performed the visit 
referred to above was granted by his monthly meeting in 
Seventh month, and he promptly set out on his visit with 
David Seaman as his traveling companion. He spent nearly 
three months visiting meetings in New Jersey and in Bucks, 
Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties, Pennsylva- 
nia, reaching Baltimore the 25th of Tenth month, where he 
attended the Yearly Meeting. This appearance and 
service in Philadelphia, he states very briefly, and with no 
hint of the developing trouble, as follows: 

"We arrived in Philadelphia in the early part of Twefth 
month, and I immediately entered on the arduous concern 


'Foster's Report," 1831, Vol. I. See testimony of Joseph Whitall, 
Also testimony of Abraham Lower, pp. 355-356. 


wliich I had in prospect and which I was favored soon com- 
fortably to accomplish. We visited the families composing 
Green Street Monthly Meeting, being in number one hun- 
dred and forty, and we also attended that monthly meeting 
and the monthly meeting for the Northern District. This 
closed ray visit here, and set me at liberty to turn my face 
homeward." 6 

It will thus be seen that the charge of unsoundness was 
entered in Philadelphia Meeting for Sufferings soon after 
Elias started on his southern visit, but the matter was held 
practically in suspense for four months. In the meantime 
Elias was waited upon by a few elders, presumably in 
accordance with the action of the Meeting for Sufferings 
held in Eighth month. This opportunity was had when the 
visitor passed through Philadelphia en route to Baltimore. 
There is reason for believing that Elias succeeded in meas- 
ureably satisfying this small committee. But there was evi- 
dently an element in Philadelphia that did not propose to 
be satisfied. 

In Twelfth month, when Elias arrived in Philadelphia 
from his southern trip, and began his visits among the 
families of Green Street Monthly Meeting, a meeting of the 
elders of all the monthly meetings in the city was hastily 
called. A deputation from the elders sought an "oppor- 
tunity" with Elias, and insisted that it be private. 7 His posi- 
tion was that he was not accountable to them for anything 
he had said while traveling with a minute as a minister. 
Elias finally consented, out of regard to some particular 
Friends, to meet the elders in Green Street meeting-house, 
provided witnesses other than the opposing elders could 
be present. Among those who accompanied Elias were 
John Comly, Robert Moore, John Moore and John Hunt. 

"Journal, p. 394. 

7 "Foster's Report." pp. 359-360. "Cockburn's Review," p. 66. 


When the meeting- was held, however, the elders who 
opposed Elias said the)' could not proceed, their reason being: 
that the gathering was not "select." In connection with 
this controversy letters passed between the opposing parties. 
One was signed by ten elders of Philadelphia, and is as 
follows : 

"To Elias Hicks : 

"Friends in Philadelphia having for a considerable time 
past heard of thy holding and promulgating doctrines dif- 
ferent from and repugnant to those held by our religious 
society, it was cause of uneasiness and deep concern to 
them, as their sincere regard and engagement for the pro- 
motion of the cause of Truth made it very desirable that all 
the members of our religious society should move in true 
harmony under the leading and direction of our blessed 
Redeemer. Upon being; informed of thy sentiments ex- 
pressed by Joseph Whitalh — that Jesus Christ was not the 
son of God until after the baptism of John and the descent 
of the Holy Ghost, and that he was no more than a man ; 
that the same power that made Christ a Christian must 
make us Christians ; and that the same power that saved 
Him must save us — many friends were affected therewith, 
and some time afterward, several Friends being together in 
the city on subjects relating to our religious society, they 
received an account from Ezra Comfort of some of thy 
expressions in the public general meeting immediately suc- 
ceeding the Southern Quarterly Meeting lately held in the 
state, of Delaware, which was also confirmed by his com- 
panion, Isaiah Bell, that Jesus Christ was the first man who 
introduced the gospel dispensation, the Jews being under 
the outward or ceremonial law or dispensation, it was nec- 
essary that there should be some outward miracle, as the 
healing of the outward infirmities of the flesh and raising 
the outward dead bodies in order to introduce the gospel 
dispensation ; He had no more power given Him than man, 
for He was no more than man ; Fie had nothing to do with 
the healing of the soul, for that belongs to God only ; 
Elisha had the same power to raise the dead ; that man 
being obedient to the spirit of God in him could arrive at 
as great, or a greater, degree of righteousness than Jesus 
Christ; that' 'Jesus Christ thought it not robbery to be equal 
with God; neither do I think it robbery for man to be equal 


with God' ; then endeavored to show that by attending to 
that stone cut out of the mountain without hands, or the 
seed in man, it would make man equal with God, saying : 
for that stone in man was the entire God. On hearing 
which it appeared to Friends a subject of such great im- 
portance and of such deep welfare to the interest of our 
religious society as to require an extension of care, in order 
that if any incorrect statement had been made it should as 
soon as possible be rectified, or, if true, thou might be pos- 
sessed of the painful concerns of Friends and their sense 
and judgment thereon. Two of the elders accordingly 
waited on thee on the evening of the day of thy arriving in 
the city, and although thou denied the statement, yet thy 
declining to meet these two elders in company with those 
who made it left the minds of Friends without relief. One 
of the elders who had called on thee repeated his visit on the 
next day but one, and again requested thee to see the two 
elders and the Friends who made the above statments which 
thou again declined. The elders from the different Monthly 
Meetings of the city were then convened and requested a 
private opportunity with thee, which thou also refused, yet 
the next day consented to meet them at a time and place of 
thy own fixing; but, when assembled, a mixed company 
being collected, the elders could not in this manner enter 
into business which they considered of a nature not to be 
investigated in any other way than in a select, private 
opportunity. They, therefore, considered that meeting a 
clear indication of thy continuing to decline to meet the 
elders as by them proposed. Under these circumstances, it 
appearing that thou art not willing to hear and disprove the 
charges brought against thee, we feel it a duty to declare 
that we cannot have religious unity with thy conduct nor 
with the doctrines thou art charged with promulgating. 
'■Signed. Twelfth month 19, 1822. 

"Caleb Pierce, 
"Leonard Snowden, 
"Joseph Scattergood, 
"S. P. Griffiths, 
"T. Stewardson, 
"Edward Randolph, 
"Israel Maule, 
"Ellis Yarnall, 
"Richard Humphries, 
"Thomas Wister." 


To this epistle Elias Hicks made the following reply, 
two days having intervened : 

"To Caleb Pierce and other Friends : 

"Having been charged by you with unsoundness of 
principle and doctrine, founded on reports spread among 
the people in an unfriendly manner, and contrary to the 
order of our Discipline, by Joseph Whitall, as charged in 
the letter from you dated the 19th instant, and as these 
charges are not literally true, being founded on his own 
forced and improper construction of my words, I deny them, 
and I do not consider myself amenable to him, nor to any 
other, for crimes laid to my charge as being committed in 
the course of the sittings of our last Yearly Meeting, as not 
any of my fellow-members of that meeting discovered or 
noticed any such thing — which I presume to be the case, as 
not an individual has mentioned any such things to me, 
but contrary thereto. Many of our most valued Friends 
(who had heard some of those foul reports first promul- 
gated by a citizen of our city) acknowledge^ the great sat- 
isfaction they had with my services and exercise in the 
course of that meeting, and were fully convinced that all 
those reports were false ; and this view is fully confirmed 
by a certificate granted me by the Monthly and Quarterly 
Meetings of which I am a member, in which they expressed 
their full unity with me — and which meetings were held a 
considerable time after our Yearly Meeting, in the course 
of which Joseph Whitall has presumed to charge me with 
unsoundness of doctrine, contrary to the sense of the 
Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Meetings of which I am a 
member, and to whom only do I hold myself amenable for 
all conduct transacted within their limits. The other 
charges made against me by Ezra Comfort, as expressed in 
your letter, are in general incorrect, as is proved by the 
annexed certificate; and, moreover, as Ezra Comfort has 
departed from gospel order in not mentioning his uneasiness 
to me when present with me, and when I could have ap- 
pealed to Friends of that meeting to justify me ; therefore, 
I consider Ezra Comfort to have acted disorderly and con- 
trary to the discipline, and these are the reasons which in- 
duce me to refuse a compliance with your requisitions — 
considering them arbitrary and contrary to the established 
order of our Society. 

"Elias Hicks. 

"Philadelphia, Twelfth month 21. 1822." 


As already noted the charges in the letter of the ten 
elders were based on statements made by Joseph Whitall, 
supplemented by allegations by Ezra Comfort, as to what 
Elias had said in two sermons, neither of which was deliv- 
ered within the bounds of Philadelphia Quartely Meeting, 
The matters complained of are mostly subject to variable 
interpretation, and scarcely afford a basis for a religious 
quarrel, especially considering that the alleged statements 
were at the best garbled from quite lengthy discourses. 

On the same day that Elias replied to the ten elders, 
three members of Southern Quarterly Meeting issued a 
signed statement regarding the charges of Ezra Comfort. 
It is as follows : 

"We, the undersigned, being occasionally in the city of 
Philadelphia, when a letter was produced and handed us, 
signed by ten of its citizens, Elders of the Society of 
Friends, and directed to Elias Hicks, after perusing and 
deliberately considering the charges therein against him, 
for holding and propagating doctrines inconsistent with our 
religions testimonies, and more especially those said by 
Ezra Comfort and Isaiah Bell, to be held forth at a meeting 
immediately succeeding the late Southern Quarterly Meet- 
ing, and we being members of the Southern Quarter, and 
present at the said meeting, we are free to state, for the 
satisfaction of the first-mentioned Friends and all others 
whom it may concern, that we apprehend the charges ex- 
hibited by the two Friends named are without substantial 
foundation ; and in order to give a clear view we think it 
best and proper here to transcribe the said charges exhib- 
ited and our own understanding of the several, viz., 'That 
Jesus Christ was the first man that introduced the Gospel 
Dispensation, the Jews being under the outward and cere- 
monial law or dispensation, it was necessary there should 
be some outward miracles, as healing the outward infirmi- 
ties of the flesh and raising the outward dead bodies in 
order to indroduce the gospel dispensation ;' this in sub- 
stance is correct. 'That he had no more power given him 
than man,' this sentence is incorrect ; and also, 'That he had 
nothing to do with the healing of the soul, for that belongs 
to God only," is likewise incorrect; and the next sentence, 


'That Elisha also had the same power to raise the dead' 
should be transposed thus to give Elias's expressions. 'By 
the same power it was that Elisha raised the dead.' 'That 
man being obedient to the spirit of God in him could arrive 
at as great or greater degree of righteousness than Jesus 
Christ,' this is incorrect ; 'That Jesus Christ thought it not 
robbery to be equal with God/ with annexing the other part 
of the paragraph mentioned by the holy apostle would be 
correct. 'Neither do I think it robbery for man to be equal 
with God' is incorrect. 'Then endeavouring to show that 
by attending to that stone cut out of the mountain without 
hands or the seed in man it would make men equal with 
God' is incorrect ; the sentence for that stone in man should 
stand thus: 'That this stone or seed in man had all the 
attributes of the divine nature that was in Christ and God.' 
This statement and a few necessary remarks we make 
without comment, save only that we were then of opinion 
and still are that the sentiments and doctrines held forth 
by our said friend, Elias Hicks, are agreeable to the opinions 
and doctrines held by George Fox and other worthy Friends 
of his time. 

"Robert Moore, 
"Thomas Turner, 
"Joseph G. Rowland. 8 

"12 mo., 21, 1822." 

First month 4, 1823, the ten elders sent a final commu- 
nication to Elias Hicks, which we give in full : 

''On the perusal of thy letter of the 21st of last month, 
it was not a little affecting to observe the same disposition 
still prevalent that avoided a select meeting with the elders, 
which meeting consistently with the station we are placed 
in and with the sense of duty impressive upon us, we were 
engaged to propose and urge to thee as a means wherein 
the cause of uneasiness might have been investigated, the 
Friends who exhibited the complaint fully examined, and 
the whole business placed in a clear point of view. 

"On a subject of such importance the most explicit can- 
dour and ingenuousness, with a readiness to hear and give 

s "Cockbnrn's Review," p. 73. 


complete satisfaction ought ever to be maintained ; this the 
Gospel teaches, and the nature of the case imperiously de- 
manded it. As to the certificate which accompanied thy 
letter, made several weeks after the circumstances occur- 
red, it is in several ^respects not only vague and ambiguous, 
but in others (though in different terms) it corroborates the 
statement at first made. When we take a view of the whole 
subject, the doctrines and sentiments which have been pro- 
mulgated by thee, though under some caution while in this 
city, and the opinions which thou expressed in an interview 
between Ezra Comfort and thee, on the 19th ult., we are 
fully and sorrowfully confirmed in the conclusion that thou 
holds and art disseminating principles very different from 
those which are held and maintained by our religious 

"As thou hast on thy part closed the door against the 
brotherly care and endeavours of the elders here for thy 
benefit, and for the clearing our religious profession, this 
matter appears of such serious magnitude, so interesting to 
the peace, harmony, and well-being of society, that we think 
it ought to claim the weighty attention of thy Friends at 
home." 9 

One other communication closed the epistolary part of 
the controversy for the time being. It was a letter issued 
by twenty-two members of Southern Quarterly Meeting', 
concerning the ministerial service of Elias Hicks, during 
the meetings referred to in the charge of Ezra Comfort : 

"We, the subscribers, being informed that certain re- 
ports have been circulated by Ezra Comfort and Isaiah Bell 
that Elias Hicks had propagated unsound doctrine, at our 
general meeting on the day succeeding our quarterly meet- 
ing in the 11th month last, and a certificate signed by 
Robert Moore, Joseph Turner and Joseph G. Rowland being 
read contradicting said reports, the subject has claimed our 
weighty and deliberate attention, and it is our united judg- 
ment that the doctrines preached by our said Friend on the 
day alluded to were the Truths of the Gospel, and that his- 
labours of love amongst us at our particular meetings as 

9 "Cockburn's Review," p. j6. As the signatures are the same as in 
the previous letter, repeating them seems unnecessary. 


well as at our said quarterly meeting- were united with by 
all our members for aught that appears. 

"And we believe that the certificate signed by the three 
Friends above named is in substance a correct statement 
of facts. 

"Elisha Dawson, George Messeck, 

"William Dolby, William W. Moore, 

"Walter Mifflin, John Cogwill, 

"Daniel Bowers, Samuel Price, 

"William Levick, Robert Kemp, 

"Elias Janell, John Turner, 

"Jacob Pennington, Hartfield Wright, 

"Jonathan Twibond, David Wilson, 

"Henry Swtggitt, Michael Lowbek, 

"Michael Offley, Jacob Liventon, 

"James Brown, John Cowgill, Junr. 

"Little Creek, 2 mo. 26th, 1823. " 

"I hereby certify that I was at the Southern Quarterly 
Meeting in the 11th month last, but owing to indisposition 
I did not attend the general meeting on the day succeeding, 
and having been present at several meetings with Elias 
Hicks, as well as at the Quarterly Meeting aforesaid, I can 
testify my entire unity with the doctrines I have heard him 

"Anthony Whitely." 10 

All of these communications, both pro and con, are 
presented simply for what they are worth. When it comes 
to determining what is or is not "unsound doctrine," we 
are simply dealing with personal opinion, and not with 
matters of absolute fact. This is especially true of a re- 
ligious body that had never attempted to define or limit its 
doctrines in a written creed. 

The attempt of the Philadelphia elders to deal in a 
disciplinary way with Elias Hicks on the score of the 
manner or matter of his preaching was pronounced by his 

"Cockburn's Review," p. 78. 


friends a usurpation of authority. It was held that the 
elders in question had no jurisdiction in the case, in proof 
of which the following paragraph in the Discipline of the 
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was cited : 

"And our advice to all our ministers is that they be 
frequent in reading the Scriptures of the Old and New Tes- 
taments ; and if any in the course of their ministry shall mis- 
apply or draw unsound inferences or wrong conclusions 
from the text, or shall misbehave themselves in point of 
conduct or conversation, let them be admonished in love 
and tenderness bv the elders or overseers where they 
live." 1X 

It is undoubtedly true that a certain amount of encour- 
agement, came to the opponents of Elias Hicks in Phila- 
delphia from some Friends on Long Island, and from three 
or four residents of Jericho, but they did not at that time 
at least officially represent any meeting of Friends at 
Jericho, either real or pretended. This far in the contro- 
versy the aggressors were confined to those who at that 
time were considered the "weight of the meeting," and who 
at best represented only the so-called "select" meeting, and 
not the Society at large. At the beginning at least the 
trouble was an affair of the ministers and elders. It later 
affected the whole Society, by the efforts of the leaders on 
both sides. 

Incidents are not wanting to show that up to the very 
end of the controversy the rank and file of Friends had 
little vital interest in the matters involved in the trouble. 
It is related on good authority that two prominent members 
of Nine Partners Quarterly Meeting in Dutchess County, 
New York, husband and wife, made a compact before 
attending the meeting in Eighth month, 1828, feeling that 

11 Rules of Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of Friends, held in 
Philadelphia, 1806, p. 62. 18 


the issue would reach its climax at that time. They agreed 
that whichever side retained control of the organization and 
the meeting-house would be considered by them the meet- 
ing, and receive their support. We mention this as un- 
doubtedly representing the feeling in more than one case. 
The fact that it took practically a decade of excitement and 
manipulation, to create the antagonisms, personal and other- 
wise, which resulted in an open rupture, shows how little 
disposed the majority of Friends were to disrupt the 


The Time of Unsettlement. 

Between the trouble related in the last chapter and 
the culmination of the disturbance in the Society of Friends, 
in 1827-1828, there was an interval of four or five years. 
This period was by no means one of quiet. On the other 
hand it was one of confusion, in the midst of which the 
forces were at work, and the plans perfected which led 
up logically to the end. 

It will be remembered that the last communication of 
the Philadelphia elders sent to Elias Hicks was dated First 
month 4. 1823. They had manifestly failed to silence the 
preacher from Jericho, or to greatly alarm him with their 
charges of heresy. Just eleven days after the epistle in 
question was written, the Meeting for Sufferings of Phila- 
delphia Yearly Meeting assembled. This meeting issued a 
singular document, ] said by the friends of Elias Hicks to 
have been intended as a sort of "Quaker Creed," but this 
was vigorously denied by those responsible for its existence. 
The statement of doctrine, which was as follows, was duly 
signed by Jonathan Evans, clerk, "on behalf of the meet- 

"At a Meeting for Sufferings held in Philadelphia the 
17th of the First month, 1823, an essay containing a few- 
brief extracts from the writings of our primitive Friends 
on several of the doctrines of the Christian religion, which 
have been always held, and are most surely believed by us, 

1 The title of the production was as follows : Extracts from the 
Writings of Primitive Friends, concerning the Divinity of Our Lord 
and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Published by the direction of the Meeting 
for Sufferings, held in Philadelphia. Solomon W. Conrad, printer. 



being produced and read ; on solid consideration they 
appeared so likely to be productive of benefit, if a publica- 
tion thereof was made and spread among our members 
generally, that the committee appointed on the printing and 
distribution of religious books are directed to have a suffi- 
cient number of them struck off and distributed accordingly, 
being as follows : 

"We have always believed that the Holy Scriptures 
were written by divine inspiration, that they are able to 
make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ 
Jesus, for, as holy men of God spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost, they are therefore profitable for doc- 
trine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in right- 
eousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly 
furnished unto all good works. But they are not or cannot 
be subjected to the fallen, corrupt reason of man. We have 
always asserted our willingness that all our doctrines be 
tried by them, and admit it as a positive maxim that what- 
soever any do (pretending to the Spirit) which is contrary 
to the Scriptures be accounted and judged a delusion of 
the devil. 

"We receive and believe in the testimony of the Scrip- 
tures simply as it stands in the text. 'There are three that 
bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy 
Ghost, and these three are one.' 

"We believe in the only wise, omnipotent and ever- 
lasting God, the creator of all things in heaven and earth, 
and the preserver of all that he hath made, who is God 
over all blessed forever. 

"The infinite and most wise God, who is the founda- 
tion, root and spring of all operation, hath wrought all 
things by his eternal Word and Son. This is that Word 
that was in the beginning with God and was God, by whom 
all things were made, and without whom was not anything 
made that was made. Jesus Christ is the beloved and only 
begotten Son of God, who, in the fulness of time, through 
the Holy Ghost, was conceived and born of the Virgin 
Mary; in him we have redemption through his blood, even 
the forgiveness of sins. We believe that he was made a 
sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin ; that he was crucified for 
us in the flesh, was buried and rose again the third day by 
the power of his Father for our justification, ascended up 
into heaven and now sitteth at the right hand of God. 

"As then that infinite and incomprehensible Fountain 


of life and motion operateth in the creatures by his own 
•eternal word and power, so no creature has access again 
unto him but in and by the Son according to his own 
blessed declaration, 'No man knoweth the Father but the 
Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.' Again, 'I 
am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto 
the Father but by me.' Hence he is the only Mediator 
between God and man for having been with God from all 
eternity, being himself God, and also in time partaking of 
the nature of man ; through him is the goodness and love of 
God conveyed to mankind, and by him again man receiveth 
and partaketh of these mercies. 

"We acknowledge that of ourselves we are not able to 
do anything that is good, neither can we procure remission 
of sins or justification by any act of our own, but acknowl- 
edge all to be of and from his love, which is the original 
and fundamental cause of our acceptance. 'For God so 
loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life.' 

"We firmly believe it was necessary that Christ should 
come, that by his death and sufferings he might offer up 
himself a sacrifice to God for our sins, who his own self 
bear our sins in his own body on the tree ; so we believe 
that the remission of sins which any partake of is only in 
and by virtue of that most satisfactory sacrifice and no 
otherwise. For it is by the obedience of that one that the 
tree gift is come upon all to justification. Thus Christ by 
his death and sufferings hath reconciled us to God even 
while we are enemies ; that is, he offers reconciliation to 
us, and we are thereby put into a capacity of being recon- 
ciled. God is willing to be reconciled unto us and ready 
to remit the sins that are past if we repent. 

"Jesus Christ is the intercessor and advocate with the 
Father in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us, 
being touched with a feeling of our infirmities, sufferings, 
and sorrows ; and also by his spirit in our hearts he maketh 
intercession according to the will of God, crying abba, 
Father. He tasted death for every man, shed his blood for 
all men, and is the propitiation for our sins ; and not for 
ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. He 
alone is our Redeemer and Saviour, the captain of our sal- 
vation, the promised seed, who bruises the serpent's head ; 
the alpha and omega, the first and the last. He is our 
wisdom, righteousness, justification and redemption; 


neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other 
name under heaven given among men whereby we may be 

"As he ascended far above all heavens that he might 
fill all things, his fulness cannot be comprehended or con- 
tained in any finite creature, but in some measure known 
and experienced in us, as we are prepared to receive the 
same, as of his fulness we have received grace for grace. 
He is both the word of faith and a quickening spirit in us, 
whereby he is the immediate cause, author, object and 
strength of our living faith in his name and power, and of 
the work of our salvation from sin and bondage of cor- 

"The Son of God cannot be divided from the least or 
lowest appearance of his own divine light or life in us, no 
more than the sun from its own light ; nor is the sufficiency 
of his light within set up or mentioned in opposition to 
him, or to his fulness considered as in himself or without 
us ; nor can any measure or degree of light received from 
Christ be properly called the fulness of Christ ; or Christ 
as in fulness, nor exclude him from being our complete 
Saviour. And where the least degree or measure of this 
light and life of Christ within is sincerely waited in, fol- 
lowed and obeyed there is a blessed increase of light and 
grace known and felt ; as the path of the just it shines more 
and more until the perfect day, and thereby a growing in 
grace and in the knowledge of God and of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ hath been and is truly experienced. 

"Wherefore we say that whatever Christ then did, both 
living and dying, was of great benefit to the salvation of all 
that have believed and now do and that hereafter shall 
believe in him unto justification and acceptance with God: 
but the way to come to that faith is to receive and obey 
the manifestation of his divine light and grace in the con- 
science, which leads men to believe and value and not to 
disown or undervalue Christ as the common sacrifice and 
mediator. For we do affirm that to follow this holy light 
in the conscience and to turn our minds and bring all our 
deeds and thoughts to it is the readiest, nay, the only right 
way, to have true, living and sanctifying faith in Christ as 
he appeared in the flesh ; and to discern the Lord's body, 
coming and sufferings aright, and to receive any real benefit 
by him as our only sacrifice and mediator, according to the 
beloved disciple's emphatical testimony, 'If we walk in the 
light as he (God) is in the light we have fellowship one 


with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son 
cleanseth us from all sin.' 

"By the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ without us we, 
truly repenting- and believing, as through the mercy of 
God, justified from the imputation of sins and transgres- 
sions that are past, as though they had never been com- 
mitted ; and by the mighty work of Christ within us the 
power, nature and habits of sin are destroyed; that as sin 
once reigned unto death even so now grace reigneth 
through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our 
Lord.'' 2 

This deliverance is. almost as theological and dogmatic 
as the Westminster Confession. It scarcely contains a 
reference to the fundamental doctrine of George Fox. It 
is not too much to say that if it was the belief of the 
"primitive" Friends, there was little reason, touching points 
of doctrine, for the preaching of Fox, or the first gathering 
of the Society. All the ground covered by this doctrinal 
statement was amply treated in the Articles of Religion of 
the Church of England, and the Confession of the 

The above document was issued without quotation 
marks, or any indication as to what "primitive" Friends 
were responsible for the sentiments contained in its various 
parts. By careful examination it will be seen that one 
sentence, at least, is from Barclay's Apology, "but it proves 
to be a garbled quotation." We refer to the following 
sentence in the second paragraph in the above article, re- 
lating to the Scriptures : "But they are not or cannot be 
subjected to the fallen, corrupt reason of man." Barclay's 
complete statement is here given : 

"Yet, as the proposition itself concludeth, to the last 
part of which I now come, it will not from thence follow 
that these divine revelations are to be subjected to the 
examination either of the outward testimony of Scripture 
or of the human or natural reason of man, as to a more 

2 "The Friend, or Advocate of Truth," Vol. I, pp. 152-154. 


noble and certain rule or touchstone; for the divine revela- 
tion and inward illumination is that which is evident by 
itself, forcing- the well-disposed understanding and irre- 
sistibly moving it to assent by its own evidence and clear- 
ness, even as the common principles of natural truths to 
bend the mind to a natural assent." 3 

It will be seen clearly that the reference in the document 
issued by the Meeting for Sufferings was not only a mis- 
quotation from Barclay, but also misrepresented his mean- 
ing*. The latter is particularly true if we refer to the top 
of the same page that contains the above extract, where he 
says: "So would I not have any reject or doubt the 
certainty of that unerring Spirit which God hath given his 
children as that which can alone guide them into all truth, 
because some have falsely pretended to it." 4 It will thus 
appear clear that Elias Hicks, and not the Meeting for 
Sufferings, was supported by Barclay. 

The reference in the third paragraph in the foregoing 
"declaration" to the "three that bear record in heaven" is 
a quotation from 1 John 5 : 7. It is entirely omitted from 
the Revised Version, and thorough scholars in the early 
years of the nineteenth century were convinced that the 
passage was an interpolation. 

The statement of belief prepared by the Meeting for 
Sufferings was not approved by the Yearly Meeting, so noth- 
ing was really accomplished by the compilation, if such it 

Considering the order of the events recorded, it is hard 
not to conceive that the attempt to promulgate a "'declara- 
tion of faith" by the Yearly Meeting was really intended for 
personal application to Elias Hicks. Had the plan suc- 
ceeded, the elders could easily have attempted to silence the 

3 "Barclay's Apology." Edition of Friends' Book Store, 304 Arch 
Street, Philadelphia, 1877, P- 68. 

4 "Barclay's Apology." Edition of 1877, p. 68. 




~£a*ri4 wv <?t4-asrU*-£y ax* lA&i 


/r = 


Jericho preacher in Philadelphia, on the ground that he was 
"unsound" touching the doctrine promulgated by the Yearly 

The task of detailing all of the doings of this period 
would be too difficult and distasteful to be fully recorded in 
this book. That the unfriendly conduct was by no means 
all on one side is painfully true. Still, as the determination 
of the Philadelphia elders to deal with Elias Hicks, and 
stop his ministry if possible, was continued, the effort cannot 
be ignored. 

In First month, 1825, the elders presented a charge of 
unsoundness against Elias Hicks in the Preparative Meet- 
ing of Ministers and Elders, the intent being to have the 
charge forwarded to the monthly meeting", but this action 
was not taken. With phenomenal persistence one of the 
elders introduced the subject in the monthly meeting, and 
secured the appointment of a committee to investigate the 
merits of the case. This committee made a report un- 
favorable to Elias Hicks, which report, his friends claimed 
was improperly entered on the minutes. A vigorous, but 
by no means a united effort was made to get this report 
forwarded to Jericho Monthly Meeting, but this failed. 
One of the incidents of this attempt against Elias Hicks was 
the disownment of a member of the Northern District 
Monthly Meeting, for remarks made in Western District 
Monthly Meeting. The report of the committee against 
Elias was under consideration, when the visitor arose and 
said : "If it be understood by the report — if it set forth and 
declare, that Elias Hicks, the last time he was in this house, 
preached doctrines contrary to the Holy Scriptures, or con- 
trary to our first or primitive Friends, being present at that 
time, I stand here as a witness that it is utterly false." 5 
Although this Friend was disowned by his monthly meet- 

5 "Cockburn's Review," p. 95. 19 


ing- he was reinstated by the Quarterly Meeting. It should 
be said that the report of unsoundness referred to, con- 
tained this specific charge: "We apprehend that Elias 
Hicks expressed sentiments inconsistent with the Holy 
Scriptures, and the religious principles our Society has held 
from its first rise." 

The trouble in Philadelphia was renewed in an ag- 
gravated form in First month, 1827 when Elias Hicks ap- 
peared in the city on another religious visit. Of course 
the atmosphere had been charged with all sorts of attacks 
regarding the venerable preacher. Under such conditions 
no special advertising was necessary to get a crowd. The 
populace was curious, not a few wanted to hear and see, 
for themselves, this man about whom so many charges had 
been made. As a matter of course the meeting-houses 
were crowded beyond their capacity. It was alleged by 
Orthodox Friends that the meetings were disorderly, which 
may have been literally true. But the tumult was increased 
by injecting an element of controversy, into the First-day 
afternoon meeting in Western meeting-house, on the part 
of an Orthodox elder. All the evidence goes to show that 
Elias attempted to quiet the tumult. He seems to have been 
willing to accord liberty of expression to his opponents. 
The matter was taken into Western Monthly Meeting, a 
committee entering the following charge : "That a large 
and disorderly concourse of people were brought together, 
at an unseasonable hour, and under circumstances that 
strongly indicated a design to preoccupy the house to the 
exclusion of most of the members of our meeting, and to 
suppress in a riotous manner any attempt that might be 
made to maintain the doctrine and principles of our religious 
society, in opposition to the views of Elias Hicks." 6 

'Cockburn's Review," p. ioo. 


The literal truthfulness of this charge in every particu- 
lar may be at least mildly questioned. It must be remem- 
bered that of the Friends in Philadelphia at that time, the 
Orthodox were a minority of about one to three. The 
majority of Friends felt that much of the trouble was per- 
sonal, and they undoubtedly flocked to hear the traduced 
preacher. The outside crowd that came could not right- 
fully or wisely have been kept from attending public meet- 
ings. Both parties had been sowing to the wind, and 
neither could validly object to the whirlwind that inevitably 
came. Still Western Monthly Meeting proposed to deal 
with a visiting minister from another yearly meeting, on 
points of doctrine, and there can be little doubt that arbi- 
trary proceedings of this sort had quite as much, if not 
more, to do with kindling the fires of "separation," as the 
preaching of Elias Hicks. 

Rapidly the trouble ran back to the opposition raised 
by the elders in 1822. Eventually Green Street Monthly 
Meeting became the center of Society difficulty. It will be 
remembered that in the year last written that monthly meet- 
ing had enjoyed a family visitation from Elias Hicks, and 
had subsequently given him a minute of approval. After 
this one of the elders, who acquiesced in this action, joined 
the other nine in written disapproval of Elias Hicks. The 
major portion of the monthly meeting proposed to take 
the inconsistent conduct of this elder under care, and the 
matter was handed over to the overseers. In thus hastily 
invoking the discipline, Green Street Monthly Meeting made 
an apparent error of judgment, even admitting that the 
spirit of the transaction was not censurable. This brought 
the Quarterly Meeting of Ministers and Elders precipitously 
into the case. Finally Green Street Monthly Meeting re- 
leased the Friend in question from his station as elder. A 
question arose on which there was a sharp discussion as to 


whether elders were independent of the overseers in the 
exercise of their official duties. A long line of conduct fol- 
lowed, finally resulting in the Quarterly Meeting of 
Ministers and Elders sending a report to the general 
quarterly meeting, amounting to a remonstrance against 
Green Street Monthly Meeting. This appeared to be a 
violation of Discipline, which said : "None of the said 
meetings of ministers and elders are in anywise to interfere 
with the business of any meeting for discipline." These 
matters, with the remonstrance of the released Green Street 
elder, would therefore seem to have been irregularly brought 
before the quarterly meeting. It was claimed by the friends 
of Elias Hicks that he had broken no rule of discipline ; that 
the charge, that he held "sentiments inconsistent with the 
Scriptures, and the principles of Friends," was vague as to 
its matter, and purely personal as to the manner of its cir- 
culation. Up to this point it should be remembered, the 
controversy was almost entirely centered on Elias Hicks. 

This matter dragged along, a source of constant dis- 
turbance, appearing in perhaps a new form in the Quarterly 
Meeting of Ministers and Elders in Eighth month, 1826. 
The immediate action involved appointing a committee to 
assist the Preparative Meeting of Ministers and Elders of 
Green Street Monthly Meeting, the assumed necessity in 
the case being the reported unsoundness of a Green Street 
minister, a charge to this effect having been preferred by 
one member only. The situation, however, caused an abate- 
ment in answering the query relating to love and unity. 
While these transactions were going on among the ministers 
and elders. Green Street Monthly Meeting took action which 
removed two of its elders from that station in the Society. 
The two deposed elders took their grievances to the general 

7 Rules of Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of Friends, held in 
Philadelphia, 1806, p. 67. 


quarterly meeting. While the quarterly meeting would not 
listen to a statement of grievances, yet a committee to go 
over the whole case was appointed. The committee thus 
appointed, without waiting any action by the quarterly meet- 
ing, transformed the removal of the aggrieved elders into 
an appeal, and then demanded that Green Street Monthly 
Meeting turn over to that committee all the minutes relating 
to the case of the two elders. This the Green Street Meet- 
ing refused to do. Although the case had never been be- 
fore the quarterly meeting, the committee of inquiry re- 
ported to the full meeting, that all of the action of Green 
Street Monthly Meeting relating to the two elders should 
be annulled. It was claimed that, by virtue of the leader- 
ship which the Orthodox had in the quarterly meeting, a 
precedent had been established which gave committees the 
right to exceed the power conferred upon them by the meet- 
ing which appointed them. The committee had not been 
appointed to decide a case, but to investigate a complaint. 
Following this experience, after much wrangling, and 
in the midst of manifest disunity, and against what it was 
claimed was the manifest opposition of the major portion 
of the meeting, the quarterly meeting in Eleventh month, 
1826, appointed a committee to visit the monthly meetings. 
This committee was manifestly one-sided, but could have no 
possible disciplinary service from extending brotherly care. 
Nevertheless at the quarterly meeting in Fifth month, 1827, 
this committee, for presumed gospel labor, reported that the 
large Green Street Monthly Meeting should be laid down, 
and its members attached to the Northern District Monthly 
Meeting. It is not necessary to enter into any argument 
as to the right of a quarterly meeting, under our system, to 
lay down an active monthly meeting, without that meeting's 
consent. The laying down of Green Street Monthly Meet- 
ing followed the "separation" in the yearly meeting. It 
should be said that in Second month, 1827, Green Street 


Monthly Meeting, attempted to secure consent from the 
quarterly meeting to transfer itself to Abington Quarterly 
Meeting, and subsequently this was done. 

The claim was made, and with some show of reason, 
that the various lines of conduct taken against Green Street 
Monthly Meeting, were incited by a desire to punish this 
meeting for its friendly interest in Elias Hicks. 

We are rapidly approaching the point where the So- 
ciety troubles in Philadelphia ceased to directly relate to 
Elias Hicks. It will be remembered that there was trouble 
touching the preaching of Elias coming by way of Southern 
Quarterly Meeting in 1822. The facts indicate that a ma- 
jority of that meeting" was quite content to let matters rest. 
It seems, however, that two members of the Meeting for 
Sufferings from that quarter had misrepresented their con- 
stituency in the Hicks controversy. Therefore in 1826 
that quarterly meeting discontinued the service of the two 
members of the Meeting for Sufferings, supplying then- 
places with new appointments. This action was objected 
to by the full meeting, the majority holding that members 
could not have their service discontinued by the constituent 
bodies which appointed them. An attempt was made to 
convince Southern Quarterly Meeting that it was improper 
and illegal to appoint new representatives, if the old ones 
were willing to serve. It was also claimed that it was 
"never intended to release the representatives from a 
quarterly meeting to the Meeting for Sufferings, except at 
their own request." s Surely the Discipline then operative 
g:ave no warrant for such an inference. 9 Assuming that 
the above contention was valid, the Meeting for Sufferings 

8 "Cockburn's Review," p. 170. 

9 Rules of Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of Friends, held in 
Philadelphia, 1806, p. 54-55- 


would simply have become a small hierarchy in the Society, 
never to be dissolved, except at its own request. 

It would seem, however, that the rules governing the 
Meeting for Sufferings were especially made to guard 
against just such an exercise of power as has been men- 
tioned. The Discipline under the heading, "Meeting for 
Sufferings," contained this provision: "The said meeting 
is not to meddle with any matter of faith or discipline, 
which has not been determined by the yearly meeting." 10 
This will make it plain why there was such an anxiety that 
the statement of doctrine issued in 1823, 11 should be en- 
dorsed by the yearly meeting, and when that failed, how 
utterly the statement was without authority or binding force 
on the Society in general or its members in particular. 

10 The same, p. 55. 

11 See page 139 of this book. 


Three Sermons Reviewed. 

We have reached the point where it would seem in 
order to consider the matter contained in some of the ser- 
mons preached by Elias Hicks, in order to determine, if we 
can, what there was about the matter or the manner of 
his ministry, which contributed to the controversy, per- 
sonal and theological, which for several years disturbed the 
Society of Friends. 

'The trouble was initiated, and for some time agitated, 
by comparatively few people. Two or three Friends began 
talking about what Elias said, from memory. Later they 
took long-hand notes of his sermons, in either case using 
isolated and disconnected sentences and expressions. Taken 
from their association with the balance of the sermon, and 
passed from mouth to mouth by critics, they assumed an ex- 
aggerated importance, and stood out boldly as centers of 

All of the evidence goes to show that little attempt was 
made to give printed publicity to these discourses, until the 
preacher had been made famous by the warmth and extent of 
the controversy over the character of his preaching. 

A volume of twelve sermons preached by Elias Hicks 
at various points in Pennsylvania in 1824 was published the 
following year in Philadelphia by Joseph and Edward 
Parker. These discourses were taken in short-hand by 
Marcus T. C. Gould. Two years later, in 1827, Gould be- 
gan the publication of "The Quaker," which contained ser- 
mons by Elias, and a few other ministers in the Society. 
In his advertisement of the first volume of this publication, 
after stating the fact of the controversy which was rapidly 



dividing the Society of Friends in two contending parties, 
Gould says : 

**At this important crisis, the reporter and proprietor of 
the following work was employed by the joint consent of 
both parties, to record in meeting the speeches of the indi- 
vidual whose doctrines were by some pronounced sound. 
and by others unsound. Since that period he has continued 
to record the language of the same speaker, and others who 
stand high as ministers in the Society, and the members 
have continued to read his reports, as the only way of 
arriving at the truth, in relation to discourses which were 
variously represented." 

It is not our purpose in this chapter to give sermons 
or parts of sermons in detail. On the other hand, to simply 
review a few of these discourses as samples, because at the 
time of their delivery they called out opposition from Ortho- 
dox Friends. It may be fairly inferred that they contained 
in whole or in part the points of doctrinal offending in the 
estimation of the critics of Elias Hicks. 

The first of the series of sermons especially under re- 
view, was delivered in the Pine Street meeting house. Phila- 
delphia, Twelfth month to. 1826. At the conclusion of this 
sermon Jonathan Evans arose, and spoke substantially as 
follows : 

"I believe it to be right for me to say, that our Society 
has always believed in the atonement, mediation, and inter- 
cession of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ — that by him 
all things were created, in heaven and in earth, both visible 
and invisible, whether they be thrones, principalities, or 

"We believe that all things were created by him. and 
for him ; and that he was before all things, and that by him 
all things consist. And any doctrine which goes to in- 
validate" these fundamental doctrines of the Christian re- 
lieion we cannot admit, nor do we hold ourselves account- 
able for. 

''Great efforts are making to make the people believe 
that Tesus Christ was no more than a man, but we do not 



believe any such thing, nor can we receive any such doc- 
trine, or any thing which goes to inculcate such an idea. 

"We believe him to be King of kings, and Lord of 
lords, before whose judgment seat every soul shall be ar- 
raigned and judged by him. We do not conceive him to 
be a mere man ; and we therefore desire, that people may 
not suppose that we hold any such doctrines, or that we 
have any unjty with them." 

Isaac Lloyd said : "I unite with Jonathan Evans — we 
never have believed that our blessed Lord and Saviour, 
Jesus Christ, came to the Jews only ; for he was given for 
God's salvation, to the ends of the earth." * 

To these doctrinal statements Elias Hicks added : "I 
have spoken; and I leave it for the people to judge — I do 
not assume the judgment seat." 

It may be informing in this connection to examine this 
sermon somewhat in detail, to see if we can find the definite 
doctrine which aroused the public opposition. The text 
was, "Let love be without dissimulation." Having declared 
that there could be no ag'reement between hatred and love ; 
and that love could not promote discord, he indulged in what 
may be called a spiritual figure of speech, declaring that a 
Christian must be in the same life, and live with the same 
blood that Christ did. making the following explanation : 
"As the support of the animal life is the blood; so it is with 
the soul : the breath of life which God breathed into it is the 
blood of the soul ; the life of the soul ; and in this sense we 
are to understand it, and in no other sense." 

He referred to the reprover of our sins, said that it is 
God who reproves us. "Now, here is the great business of 
our lives," he remarked, "not only to know this reprover, 
but to know that it is a gift from God, a manifestation of 
his own pure life, that was in his son Jesus Christ." Con- 
tinuing he said : 

"As the apostle testifies : 'In him was life, and the life 
l "The Quaker," Vol. i, p. 72. 


was the light of men ; and that was the true light, which 
lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Now can 
we hesitate a single moment, in regard to the truth of this 
declaration? No sensible, reflecting' mind can possibly do 

it." - 

Touching- the outward and written as compared with 
the inner law of life, he affirmed: 

"Here is a law more comprehensive than the law of 
Moses, and it is clear to every individual of us, as the law 
was to the Israelites. For I dare not suppose that the 
Almighty would by an}' means make it a doubtful or mys- 
terious one. It would not become God at all to suppose 
this the case — it would be casting a deep reflection upon his 
goodness and wisdom. Therefore I conceive that the law 
written in the heart, if we attend to it and do not turn from 
it to build up traditions, or depend on anything that arises 
from self, or that is in our own power, but come to be regu- 
lated by this law. we shall see that it is the easiest thing 
to be understood that can be. and that all our benefits de- 
pend on our complying with this law. 

"Here now we see what tradition is. It is a departure 
from this law ; and it has the same effect now that tradition 
had upon the followers of the outward law ; as a belief in 
tradition was produced they were bound by it, and trusted 
in it. And so people, nowadays, seem to be compelled 
to believe in tradition, and thus they turn away from the 
gospel dispensation, or otherwise the light and life of God's 
Spirit in the soul, which is the law of the new covenant ; for 
the law is light and the commandment a lamp to show us 
the way to # life." 3 

Using the term, "washed clean in the blood of the 
lamb," he proceeded to explain himself as follows: 

"And what is the blood of the lamb? It was his life, 
my friends : for as outward, material blood was made use 
of to express the animal life, inspired men used it as a 
simile. Outward blood is the life of the animal, but it has 
nothing to do with the soul : for the soul has no animal 
blood, no material blood. The life of God in the soul is 

2 "The Quaker," Vol. 1. p. 5t. 
8 "The Quaker." Vol. t. p. 61. 


the blood of the soul, and the life of God is the blood of 
God ; and so it was the life and blood of Jesus Christ his 
son. For he was born of the spirit of his heavenly Father, 
and swallowed up fully and completely in his divine nature, 
so that he was completely divine. It was this that oper- 
ated, in that twofold state, and governed the whole animal 
man which was the son of Abraham and David — a taber- 
nacle for his blessed soul. Here now we see that flesh and 
blood are not capable of being in reality divine ; for are they 
not altogether under the direction and guidance of the soul? 
Thus the animal body of Jesus did nothing but what the 
divine power in the soul told it to do. Flere he was 
swallowed up in the divinity of his Father while here on 
earth, and it was this that was the active thing, the active 
principle, that governed the animate earth. For it corre- 
sponds, and cannot do otherwise, with Almighty goodness, 
that the soul should have power to command the animal 
body to do good or evil ; because he has placed us in this 
probationary state, and in his wisdom has set evil and good 
iDefore us — light and darkness. He has made us free 
agents, and given us opportunity to make our own election. 
"Here now we shall see what is meant by election, the 
election of God. We see that those who choose the Lord 
for their portion and the God of Jacob for the lot of their 
inheritance, these are the elect. And nothing ever did or 
can elect a soul to God, but in this choice." 4 

It is not easy to see how any one can impartially con- 
sider the foregoing', especially the words printed in italics, 
and continue to claim that Elias Hicks denied the divinity 
of Christ. Near the end of this sermon we find the follow- 
ing paragraph : 

"I say, dearly beloved, my soul craves it for us, that 
we may sink down and examine ourselves ; according to the 
declaration of the apostle: 'Examine yourselves whether 
ye be in the faith ; prove your own selves ; know ye not 
your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you except ye 
be reprobates?' Now we cannot suppose that the apostle 
meant that outward man that walked about the streets of 
Jerusalem ; because he is not in any of us. But what is 
this jesns Christ? He came to be a Saviour to that na- 

"The Quaker," Vol. i, p. 62. 


tion, and was limited to that nation. He came to gather 
up, and look up the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But 
as he was a Saviour in the outward sense, so he was an 
outward shadow of good things to come ; and so the work 
of the man, Jesus Christ, was a figure. He healed the sick 
of their outward calamities — he cleansed the leprosy- — all 
of which was external and affected only their bodies — as 
sickness does not affect the souls of the children of men, 
though they may labour under all these things. But as he 
was considered a Saviour, he meant by what he said, a 
Saviour is within you, the anointing of the spirit of God is 
within you ; for this made the ways of Jesus so wonderful 
in his day that the Psalmist in his prophecy concerning him 
exclaims : 'Thou hast loved righteousness and hated in- 
iquity ; therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with 
the oil of gladness above thy fellows.' He had loved right- 
eousness, you perceive, and therefore was prepared to re- 
ceive the fullness of the spirit, the fullness of that divine 
anointing ; for there was no germ of evil in him or about 
him ; both his soul and body were pure. He was anointed 
above all his fellows, to be the head of the church, the top 
stone, the chief corner stone, elect and precious. And 
what was it that was a Saviour? Not that which was out- 
ward ; it was not flesh and blood ; for 'flesh and blood can- 
not inherit the kingdom of heaven' ; it must go to the earth 
from whence it was taken. It was that life, that same life 
that I have. already mentioned, that was in him, and which 
is the light and life of men, and which lighteth every man, 
and consequently every woman, that cometh into the world. 
And we have this light and life in us ; which is what the 
apostle meant by Jesus Christ ; and if we have not this rul- 
ing in us we are dead, because we are not under the law of 
the spirit of life. For the 'law is light and the reproofs of 
instruction the way to life.'" 5 

Unless the so-called heterodox doctrine can be found 
in the foregoing extracts, it does not exist in the sermon 
under discussion. 

Two other sermons were evidently both considered of- 
fensive and objectionable by the orthodox. One was 
preached at the Twelfth Street meeting, Twelfth month 10, 

5 "The Quaker," Vol. 1, p. 68. 


1826. and the other the 12th of the same month at Key's 
Alley, both in Philadelphia, At the Twelfth Street meet- 
ing, amid much confusion. Thomas Wistar attempted to 
controvert what Elias Hicks had said in certain particulars. 
While this Friend was talking, Elias tried to persuade the 
audience to be quiet. 

At Key's Alley, when Elias had finished, Philadelphia 
Pemberton, in the midst of a disturbance that nearly 
drowned his voice, gave an exhortation in support of the 
outward and vicarious atonement. When Friend Pember- 
ton ceased, Elias Hicks expressed his ideas regarding gos- 
pel order and variety in the ministry, for which Friends had 
always stood, in which he said : 

"My dear friends, God is a God of order — and it will do 
me great pleasure to see this meeting sit quiet till it closes. 
We have, and claim gospel privileges, and that every one 
may be persuaded in his own mind ; and as we have gifts 
differing, so ought every one to have an opportunity to 
speak, one by one, but not two at once, that all may be com- 
forted. If any thing be revealed (and we are not to speak 
except this is the case), if any thing be revealed to one, 
let others hold their peace — this is according to order. 
And I desire it, once for all, my dear friends, if you love 
me, that you will keep strictly to this order ; it will be a 
great comfort to my spirit." 6 

Speaking of the fear of God. he said that he did not 
mean "a fear that arises from the dread of torment, or 
of chastisement, or anything of this kind; for that may be 
no more than the fear of devils, for they, we read, believe 
and tremble." His theory was that fear must be based on 
knowledge, and the fear to displease God is not because of 
what he may do to us. but what, for want of this knowledge. 
we lose. 

Again, he practically repeated what was evidently con- 

"The Quaker." Vol. 1. p. [25. 


sidered a truism: "My friends we are not to look for a 
law in our neighbor's heart, nor in our neighbor's book ; but 
we are to look for that law which is to be our rule and 
guide, in our consciences, in our souls; for the law is whole 
and perfect." Continuing he remarked: 

"Now, how concordant this is with the testimony of 
Jesus, when he queried with his disciples in this wise: 
'Whom do men say that I the son of man am?' They 
enumerated several characters, according to the views of 
the people in that day. But until we come to this inward, 
divine law. we shall know nothing rightly of that mani- 
festation ; for none of us have seen him, nor any of his 
works which he acted outwardly. But here we find some 
are guessing, one way, and some another way, till they be- 
come cruel respecting different opinions about him. inso- 
much that they will kill and destroy each other for their 
opinions. This is the effect of men's turning away from 
the true light, the witness for God in their own souls ; it 
throws them into anarchy and confusion.'* 7 

In the opinion of Elias Hicks, it was not the man Peter 
that was to constitute the rock upon which the church was 
to be built, but rather the inner revelation, which enabled 
the disciple to know that the Master was the Christ. "When 
a true Christian comes to this rock, he comes to know it, 
as before pointed out : and here every one must see. when 
they build on this divine rock, this revealed will of our 
Heavenly Father, there is no fear." 

Touching the vital matters of salvation, we make the 
following extracts from this sermon : 

"Nothing but that which is begotten in every soul can 
manifest God to the soul. You must know this for your- 
selves, as nothing which you read in the Scriptures can 
give you a sense of his saving and almighty power. Now. 
the only begotten is what the power of God begets in the 
soul, bv the soul uniting with the visitations of divine love 

7 "The Quaker/' Vol. 1. p. 94. 


It becomes like a union — the soul submits and yields itself 
up to God and the revelation of his power, and thus it be- 
comes wedded to him as its heavenly husband. Here. now. 
ts a birth of the Son of God ; and this must be begotten in 
every soul, as God can be manifested by nothing else. 

"Now, what was this Holy Ghost and spirit of truth. 
and where are we to find it? He did not leave his disciples 
in the dark — 'He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you/ 
Mind it, my friends. What a blessed sovereign God this 
is to be the children of men— a God who has placed a por- 
tion of himself in every rational soul — a measure of his 
grace sufficient for every purpose, for the redemption of the 
souls of men from sin and transgression, and to lead them 
to the kingdom of heaven. And there is no other way. 
Then do not put it off any longer ; do not procrastinate any 
longer ; do not say to-morrow, but immediately turn inward, 
for the day calls aloud for it — everything around us calls 
for us to turn inward, to that which will help us to do the 

Teat work of our salvation." 

There seems to have been little, if any, public demon- 
stration against the preaching of Elias Hicks in meetings 
where he was present, except in Philadelphia. That is es- 
pecially true before the coming of the English preachers, and 
the strained conditions that existed just preceding and dur- 
ing the various acts of separation. It will thus be seen 
that the concern and purpose of the ten men elders of Phila- 
delphia remained persistent until the end. 

*'The Quaker." Vol. i. p. 97-98 


The Braithwaite Controversy. 

One of the marked incidents during the "separation" 
period was the controversy between Elias Hicks and Anna 
Braithwaite, 1 and the still more pointed discussion indulged 
in by the friends and partisans of these two Friends. From 
our viewpoint there seems to have been a certain amount 
of unnecessary sensitiveness, which led both these Friends 
to exalt to the dignity of an insult, and positive impeach- 
ment of integrity' matters which probably belonged in the 
domain of misunderstanding. It was apparently impossible 
for either to think in the terms of the other, and so the con- 
test went on and ended. 

We shall let her friends state the beginning and prog- 
ress of Anna Braithwaite's religious labor in America, and 
quote as follows: "She arrived in New York in Eighth 
month, 1823. For seven months she met with no opposi- 
tion. True, she always preached orthodox doctrines, but 

1 Anna Braithwaite, daughter of Charles and Man- Lloyd, of Bir- 
mingham. England, was born Twelfth month, 1788. She was married 
to Isaac Braithwaite, Third month 26, 1809, and removed to Kendal 
immediately after. She sailed for America on her first visit, Seventh 
month 7th, 1823. She attended three meetings in New York, and then 
the Quarterly Meeting at Burlington, at which place she seems to have 
been the guest of Stephen Grellet. She made two other visits to 
America, one in 1825 and the other in 1827. She returned to England 
after her first visit to America in the autumn of 1824. The last two 
visits she made to America she was accompanied by her husband. Anna 
Braithwaite was a woman of commanding presence, and was unusually 
cultured for one of her sex at that time. She was something of a 
linguist, speaking several languages. Her visits in America were quite 
extensive, taking her as far south as North Carolina. She died Twelfth 
month 18th, 1859. 



she had made no pointed allusions to the reputed sentiments 
of Elias Hicks." 2 

It is interesting to note that the positive preaching of 
"orthodox doctrine," on its merits, caused no opposition, 
even from the friends of Elias Hicks, the trouble only 
coming when a personal application was made, amounting 
to personal criticism. This is a fine testimony to the min- 
isterial liberty in the Society, and really a confirmation of 
the claim that spiritual unity, and not doctrinal uniformity, 
was the true basis of fellowship among Friends. We quote 
again : 

"She visited Long Island in the spring, and had some 
opportunities of conversing with Elias Hicks on religious 
subjects, and also of hearing him preach. They differed 
widely in sentiment, upon important doctrines, and she 
soon had to conclude that his were at variance with the 
hitherto well-established principles of the Society. With 
these views, she returned to New York, and, subsequently, 
about the time of the Yearly Meeting, in May, she con- 
sidered it an act of duty to warn her hearers against cer 
tain specious doctrines, which were gradually spreading, 
and undermining what she believed to be the 'true 
faith.' " 3 

It seems that Anna Braithwaite was twice the guest of 
Elias Hicks in Jericho, dining at his house both times. The 
first visit was in First month, 1824, and the other in Third 
month of the same year. They were both good talkers, 
and apparently expressed themselves with commendable 
frankness. The subject-matter of these two conversations, 
however, became material around which a prolonged contro- 
versy was wagfed. Before Anna Braithwaite sailed for 

2 "Calumny Refuted; or, Plain Facts versus Misrepresentations." 
Being reply to Pamphlet entitled, 'The Misrepresentations of Anna 
Braithwaite in Relation to the Doctrines Preached by Elias Hicks/" 

etc.. p. 2. 

3 The same, p. 6. 


England, she wrote a letter to an unnamed Friend in Flush- 
ing relative to the interviews with Elias Hicks. The letter 
was dated Seventh month 16, 1824. 

After Anna Braithwaite's departure from this country, 
the letter referred to, with "Remarks in Reply to Assertions 
of Elias Hicks," was published and extensively circulated. 
It bore the following imprint: "Philadelphia: Printed for 
the Reader, 1824." 4 In this collection was a letter from 
Ann Shipley, of Xew York, dated Tenth month 15, 1824, 
in which she declares she was present "during the conver- 
sation between her [Anna Braithwaite] and Elias Hicks. 
The statement she left was correct." While Ann Shipley's 
letter was published without her consent, it seemed to 
fortify the Braithwaite statement, and both were exten- 
sively used in an attempt to cast theological odium on the 
venerable preacher. The possibility that both women might 
have misunderstood or misinterpreted Elias Hicks does not 
seem to have entered the minds of the Anti-Hicks partisans. 

This particular epistle of Anna Braithwaite does not 
contain much material not to be found in a subsequent letter 
with "notes," which will receive later treatment. In her 
letter she habitually speaks of herself in the third person, 
and makes this observation : "When at Jericho in the Third 
month A. B. took tea with E. H. in a social way. She had 
not been long in the house, when he began to speak on the 
subject of the trinity, which A. B. considers a word so 
grossly abused as to render it undesirable even to make use 
of it." 5 One cannot well suppress the remark that if a 
like tenacity of purpose regarding other theological terms 
had been held and followed by all parties to the controversy. 

* Most of the controversial pamphlets and articles of the "separa- 
tion" period were anonymous. Except when the articles were printed in 
regular periodicals, their publishers were as unknown as their authors. 

5 "Remarks in Reply to Assertions of Elias Hicks," p. 7. 


the history of the Society of Friends would have been 
entirely different from the way it now has to be written. 

Touching the two visits to Elias Hicks, we have direct 
testimony from the visitor. We quote : 

"I thought on first entering the house, my heart and 
flesh would fail, but after a time of inexpressible conflict, 
I felt a consoling belief that best help would be near, and 
I think that every opposing thing was in a great measure 
kept down. . . . He listened to my views, which I was 
enabled to give with calmness. He was many times 
brought into close quarters ; but when he could not answer 
me directly, he turned to something else. My mind is sor- 
rowfully affected on this subject, and the widespread mis- 
chief arising from the propagation of such sentiments." 6 

In another letter, written to her family, she thus 
referred to her interview with Elias Hicks : 

"I have reason to think that, notwithstanding the firm 
and honest manner in which my sentiments were expressed, 
an open door is left for further communication. We met in 
love and we parted in love. He wept like a child for some 
time before we separated ; so that it was altogether a most 
affecting opportunity." 7 

While these two Friends undoubtedly were present in 
the same meeting during the subsequent visits of Anna 
Braithwaite to this country, their relations became so 
strained that they never met on common Friendly ground 
after the two occasions mentioned. 

After the publication of the communication and com- 
ments referred to, Elias Hicks wrote a long letter to his 
friend, Dr. Edwin A. Atlee, of Philadelphia. 8 This letter 
became the subject of a good deal of controversy, and may 
have been the exciting cause of a letter which Anna Braith- 

6 "Memoirs of Anna Braithwaite," by her son, J. Bevan Braith- 
waite. p. 129-130. 

7 The same, p. 140. 

"The text of this letter will be found listed as Appendix B in 
this book 


waite wrote Elias Hicks on the 13th of Eleventh month, 
1824, from Lodge Lane, near Liverpool. This letter, with 
elaborate "notes," was published and widely circulated on 
this side of the ocean. The letter itself would have caused 
very little excitement, but the "notes" were vigorous causes 
of irritation and antagonism. The authorship of the 
"notes" was a matter of dispute. It was claimed that they 
were not written by Anna Braithwaite, and the internal 
evidence gave color to that conclusion. They were not, in 
whole or in part, entirely in her spirit, and the temper of 
them was rather masculine. There w T ere persons who 
believed, but, of course, without positive evidence, that 
Joseph John Gurney was their author. 

The letter of Anna Braithwaite contains few points not 
covered by the "notes." She charges that Elias had denied 
that the Scriptures w r ere a rule of faith and practice, and 
it was also claimed that he repudiated "the propitiatory sac- 
rifice of our Lord and Savious Jesus Christ." This, she 
affirmed, was infidelity of a most pronounced type. 

The "notes" attached to this letter constitute a stinging 
arraignment of the supposed sentiments of Elias Hicks. 
They were considered by his friends such an unwarranted 
attack as to call for vigorous treatment, and in numerous 
ways they became points of controversy. They were mild 
at first, but personal and almost bitter at the last. The first 
"note" in the collection briefly, but fully, lays the foundation 
for arbitrary authority in religion. It says : 

"It is a regulation indispensably necessary to the peace 
of society, and to the preservation of order, consistency 
and harmony among Christians, that the members of every 
religious body, and especially those who assume the office 
of teachers or ministers, should be responsible to the 
authorities established in the church, for the doctrines 
which they hold and promulgate." 9 

9 A letter from Anna Braithwaite to Elias Hicks, on the Nature 
of His Doctrines, etc., p. 9. 


There is critical reference to a statement which Anna 
Braithwaite said Elias Hicks made in the Meeting of Min- 
isters and Elders in Jericho, touching spiritual guidance in 
appointing people to service in the Society. She says that 
Elias declared that "if each Friend attended to his or her 
proper gift, as this spirit is endued with prescience, that no 
Friend would be named for any appointment, but such as 
would attend, and during my long course of experience, I 
have never appointed any one who was prevented from 
attending either by illness or otherwise." 10 

In his letter to Dr. Atlee, Elias states his expression at 
the meeting as differing from Anna Braithwaite's in a 
material way. This is what he declares he said : "That I 
thought there was something wrong in the present instance, 
for, as we profess to believe in the guidance of the Spirit of 
Truth as an unerring Spirit, was it not reasonable to expect, 
especially in a meeting of ministers and elders, that if each 
Friend attended to their proper gifts, as this Spirit is endued 
with prescience, that it would be much more likely, under 
its divine influence, we should be led to appoint such as 
would attend on particular and necessary occasions, than to 
appoint those who would not attend?" 

We make these quotations not only to show the differ- 
ence in the two statements, but to also make it plain what 
small faggots were used to build the fires of controversy 
regarding the opinions of Elias Hicks. It looks in this 
particular citation like a case of criticism gone mad. The 
following extracts are from the "notes" : 

"We shall now notice the comparatively modern work 
of that arch-infidel, Thomas Paine, called "The Age of 
Reason," many of the sentiments of which are so exactly 
similar to those of Elias Hicks, as almost to induce us to 
suspect plagiarism." n 

10 The same, p. 4. 

11 The same, p. 23-24. 


"We could adduce large quotations from authors of the 
same school with Paine, showing in the most conclusive 
manner that the dogmas of Elias Hicks, so far from being 
further revelations of Christian doctrines, are merely the 
stale objections to the relig-ion of the Bible, which have been 
so frequently routed and driven from the field, to the utter 
shame and confusion of their promulgators." 12 

Those who defended Elias Hicks saw in these criti- 
cisms an act of persecution, and a veiled attempt to under- 
mine his reputation as a man and a minister. The latter 
effort was read into the following paragraph, which was 
presented as an effort at justifying the criticism of the 
Jericho preacher. We quote : 

"It was both Friendly and Christian to warn them of 
the danger of listening with credulity to one whose high 
profession, reputed morality, and popular eloquence, had 
given him considerable influence; and if his opinions had 
been correct, the promulgation of them would not have 
proved prejudicial to him." 13 

The references to Thomas Paine will sound singularly 
overdrawn if read in connection with the reference of Elias 
Hicks to the same person. 14 It may be asserted with some 
degree of safety that it is doubtful if either Elias Hicks or 
his critics ever read enough of the writings of Thomas 
Paine to be really qualified to judicially criticise them. 

When Anna Braithwaite visited this country the second 
time, in 1825, she found matters much more unsettled than 
on her first visit. Her own part in the controversy had 
been fully, if not fairly, discussed. As showing her own 
feeling touching the second visit, we quote the following 
from a sermon preached by her : 

"I have thought many times, while surrounded by my 

12 The same, p. 26. 

13 The same, p. 21-22. 

14 See page 117 of this book. 


family and my friends, and when I have bowed before the 
throne of grace, how very near and how very dear were 
my fellow-believers, on this side of the Atlantic, made unto 
my soul. It seemed to me, as if in a very remarkable man- 
ner, their everlasting- welfare was brought before me, as if 
my fellow-professors of the same religious principles with 
myself were in a very peculiar manner the objects of much 
solicitude. How have I had to pour out my soul in secret 
unto the Lord, that he would turn them more and more, 
and so let their light shine before men, that all being- 
believers in a crucified Saviour, they may be brought to 
know for themselves that though 'Christ Crucified was to 
the Jews a stumbling- block, and unto the Greeks foolish- 
ness ; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, 
Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.' I say 
my soul hath been poured out before the Lord, that their 
light might shine in a still more conspicuous manner, 
through their hearts being brought into deep prostration of 
soul, that so their works might glorify their Father which is 
in heaVen. My heart was enlarged toward every religious 
denomination ; for surely, the world over, those who are 
believers in Christ have one common bond of union — the} 
are the salt of the earth — the little flock to whom the Father 
in his good pleasure will give the Kingdom. I have often 
greatly desired to be with you, while I am well aware that 
to many it must appear a strange thing, that a female 
should leave her home, her family, and her friends, and 
should thus expose herself to the public, to preach the glad 
tidings of salvation through Jesus Christ ; yet I have 
thought, my beloved friends, that though all may not see 
into these things, yet surely there is no other way for any 
of us, but to yield up our thoughts unto the Lord." 15 

There seem to have been some Friends desirous of 
producing a meeting between Anna Braithwaite and Flias 
Hicks during this visit. In Tenth month. 1825. she wrote 
him from ECipp's Bay, Long Island. She informed him of 
her arrival, and then stated "that if he wishes to have any 
communication with her, she is willing to meet him in the 
presence of their mutual friends, or to answer any letter he 

15 Sermon and prayer by Anna Braithwaite, delivered in Friends' 
Meeting, Arch Street, Philadelphia, October 26, T825. Taken in short 
hand by M. T. C. Gould, stenographer, p. 4-5. 


may write to her;" then she adds these remarkable words: 
'Having written to thee sometime ago, what I thought was 
right, I do not ask an interview.' " 16 

To this communication Elias Hicks made a somewhat 
full reply. He says that her notes of the conversation, 
"divers of which were without foundation," led him to 
wonder why she should even think of having any future 
communication with him. He then saj r s : 

"That I have no desire for any further communication 
with thee, either directly or indirectly, until thou makest 
a suitable acknowledgment for thy breach of friendship, as 
is required by the salutary discipline of our Society ; but as 
it respects myself, I freely forgive thee, and leave thee to 
pursue thy own way as long as thou canst rind true peace 
and quiet therein." 17 

It has to be said regretfully that during Anna Braith- 
waite's second visit to this country, she met with both 
personal and Society rebuffs. In some meetings her minute 
was read, but with no expression of approbation in the case. 
The Meeting of Ministers and Elders at Jericho appointed 
a committee, 18 to advise her not to appoint any more meet- 
ings in that neighborhood during her stay. A good many 
Friends objected to her family visits, and, taken altogether, 
her stay must have been one of trial. 

She came again in the early part of the year 1827, 
and was here when the climax came in that year and the 
year following. 

The English Friends, who were so much in evidence 
in our troubles, went home to face the Beacon controversy, 19 

""Christian Inquirer," new series, Vol. 1., 1826, p. 57. 

17 The same, p. 57. 

18 The same, p. 59. 

19 This controversy took its name from a periodical called the "Bea- 
con," edited by Isaac Crewdson. In this evangelical doctrines and 



then gathering in England. The Beaconite movement 
caused several hundred Friends to sever their connection 
with the Society. But it did not reach the dignity of a 
division or a separation. Whether the English Friends 
profited by the experiences suffered by the Society in 
America is not certain. At any rate, they seem to have 
been able to endure their differences without a rupture. 
After the English trouble had practically subsided, in 
1 84 1, Anna Braithwaite made the following suggestive ad- 
mission, which may well close this chapter : 

"Calm reflection and observation of passing events, and 
of persons, have convinced me that I took an exaggerated 
view of the state of society with reference to Hicksism. 
. . . We have as great a horror of Hicksism as ever, but 
we think Friends generally are becoming more alive to its 
dangers, and that the trials of the last few years have been 
blessed to the instruction of many." 20 

methods were advocated. The Beaconites were strong in advocating 
the doctrine of justification by faith, and practically rejected the 
fundamental Quaker theory of the Inner Light. From the American 
standpoint, the Beaconite position seems to have been the logical 
development of the doctrines preached by the English and American 
opponents of Elias Hicks. 

20 "j. Bevan Braithwaite ; a Friend of the Nineteenth Century," by 
his children, p. 59-60. 


Ann Jones in Dutchess County. 

In Fifth month, 1828, a year after the division had 
been accomplished in Philadelphia, a most remarkable round 
of experiences took place within the bounds of Nine Part- 
ners and Stanford Quarterly Meetings, in Dutchess County. 
New York. Elias Hicks was past eighty years of age, but 
he attended the series of meetings in the neighborhood men- 
tioned. George and Ann Jones, English Friends, much in 
evidence in "separation" matters, were also in attendance, 
the result being a series of controversial exhortations, 
mingled with personal allusions, sometimes gently veiled, 
but containing what would now pass for bitterness and 
railing. The "sermons" of this series were stenographic- 
ally reported, and form a small book of ninety-eight pages. 

The first meeting was held at Nine Partners, First-day, 
Fifth month 4th. Elias Hicks had the first service in the 
meeting. After he had closed, Ann Jones made the fol- 
lowing remarks : 

"We have heard considerable said, and we have heard, 
under a specious pretence of preaching the Gospel, the 
Saviour of the world denied, who is God and equal with 
the Father. And we have heard that the Scriptures had 
done more hurt than good. We have also heard the exist- 
ence of a devil denied, except what arises from our propen- 
sities, desires, &c." 1 

1 "Sermons" by Elias Hicks, Ann Jones and others of the Society 
of Friends, at the Quarterly Meeting of Nine Partners and Stanford, 
and first day preceding in Fifth month, 1828. Taken in shorthand by 
Henry Hoag, p. 20. 



After this deliverance, Elias Hicks again arose and said : 

"I will just observe that my friends are acquainted 
with me in these parts, and know me very well when I 
speak to them. I came not here as a judge, but as a coun- 
sellor: I leave it for the people to judge. And I would 
hope- to turn them to nothing but a firm and solid convic- 
tion in their minds. We may speak one by one, for that 
becometh order. I thought I would add a word or two 
more. When I was young, I read the Scriptures, and I 
thought that they were not the power, nor the spirit, and 
that there was but very little in them for me ; but I was 
vain. But when I had once seen the sin in my heart, then 
I found that this book pointed to the Spirit, but never con- 
victed me of sin. 

"I believe that this was the doctrine of ancient Friends ; 
for George Fox declared that his Saviour never could be 
slain by the hands of wicked men. I believe the Scriptures 
concerning Jesus Christ, and David, too, and a host of 
others, who learned righteousness and were united one with 
another. I believe that Jesus Christ took upon him flesh 
made under the law, for all people are made under the law, 
and Christ is this Light which enlighteneth every man that 
comes into the world. And now, my friends, I would not 
have you believe one word of what I say, unless by solid 
conviction." 2 

It will be in order to find out what was said by Elias 
Hicks which called for the personal allusion made by Ann 
Jones. We are not able to find in the remarks of Elias Hicks 
on this occasion anything that would justify the strong lan- 
guage of his critic, especially as to the Scriptures having 
done more hurt than good. It would seem that the sup- 
plementary statement quoted must be accepted as containing 
his estimate of the book which he was charged with repudi- 
ating, rather than the critical assertion of his doctrinal 

There are various statements in the Micks sermon 
which denied some of the material claims oi popular 



theology, but they did not class him with those who denied 
the existence or spiritual office of Christ. In the meetings 
under review, and at other times, the evidence is abundant 
that his critics either did not want to or could not under- 
stand him. He dealt with the spirit of the gospel, and with 
the inner manifestation of that spirit in the heart. They 
stood for scriptural literalness, and for the outward appear- 
ance of Christ. It is not for us to condemn either side in 
the controversy, but to state the case. 

We produce a few sentences and expressions from the 
sermon by Elias Hicks, which might have created antago- 
nism at the time. Speaking of the "Comforter" which was 
to come, he said : 

"And what was this Comforter? Not an external one— 
not Jesus Christ outward, to whom there was brought dis- 
eased persons _and he delivered them from their various 
diseases. . . . Here, now, he told them how to do : he 
previously made mention that when the Comforter had 
come, he would reprove the world of sin— now the world 
is every rational soul under heaven. And he has come and 
reproved them. I dare appeal to the wickedest man 
present, that will acknowledge the truth, that this Light 
has come into the world ; but men love darkness better than 
light, because their deeds are evil ; yet they know the light 
by an evidence in their hearts." 3 

Near the end of this discourse he elaborated his idea as 
to the ineffectual character of all outward and formal soul 
cleansing, in the following language : 

"Now can any man of common sense suppose that it 
can be outward blood that was shed by the carnal Jews that 
will cleanse us from our sins? The blood of Chirst that 
is immortal, never can be seen by mortal eyes. And to be 
Christians, we must come to see an immortal view. After 
Christ had recapitulated the precepts of the law, 'Is it not 
written in your law, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a 

8 The same, p. g. 


tooth : but I say unto you, if a man smite thee on one cheek 
turn to him the other also : and if a man take thy coat from 
thee, give him thy cloak also.' Don't we see how different 
the precepts of the law of God are? He tells us how we 
should do — we should take no advantage at all. The 
Almighty visits us, to get us willing to observe his law; and 
if all were concerned to maintain his law, all lawyers would 
be banished ; we should have no need of them ; as well 
as of hireling Priests. We should have no need of them 
to teach us, nor no need of the laws of men, for each one 
would have a law in his own mind." 4 

The other points in Dutchess County visited, and 
involved in the reports of sermons under consideration, were 
Chestnut Ridge, Stanford and Oblong. At some of these 
meetings the preachers spoke more than once. It does not 
appear that in the brief communications of George Jones 
lie either directly or indirectly referred to statements made 
by Elias Hicks, or particularly sought to antagonize them. 
Ann Jones, however, was not similarly considerate and 
cautious. Either directly or by inference, she quite gener- 
ally attempted to furnish the antidote for what she con- 
sidered the pernicious doctrine of her fellow-minister. 
Speaking at Nine Partners Quarterly Meeting, Fifth month 
7th, she said : 

"I believe it to be right for me to caution the present 
company without respect of persons — how they deny the 
Lord that bought them — how they set at nought the out- 
ward coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for them : 
they will have to answer it at the awful tribunal bar of God, 
where it will be altogether unavailing to say that such a 
one taught me to believe that there was nothing in this. 
Oh ! my friends ! God hath not left us without a witness ; 
Oh, then it is unto the faithful and true witness, 'the testi- 
mony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy/ I am en- 
gaged in gospel love to recommend, and to hold out unto 
you, that you meddle not with the things of God : and that 
you cry unto him for help. For what hope can they have 

* The same, p. 17. 


of present or future good, or of everlasting" happiness, if 
they reject the only means appointed of God to come unto 
the Father through Jesus Christ, the messenger of God, and 
of the new covenant?" 5 

At this meeting Elias Hicks followed Ann Jones in 
vocal communication. He made no direct reference to 
what she said, the short sermon being largely a reiteration 
touching the inner revelation to the souls of men, as the 
reprover of sin, and the power which kept from sinning, 
as against the outward, sacrificial form of salvation. In 
closing his remarks, Elias Hicks made this statement : 

"I do not wish to detain this assembly much longer, 
but I want that we should cast away things that are mys- 
terious, for we cannot comprehend mystery. 'Secret things 
belong to God, but those that are revealed (that are under- 
stood), to us and our children.' And those that are secret 
can never be found out by the prying of mortals. Do we 
suppose for a moment — for it would cast an indignity upon 
God to suppose that he had laid down any name except his 
own by which we can have communion with him. It is a 
plain way, a simple way which all can understand, and not 
be under the necessity to go to a neighbor, and to say, 
'Know thou the Lord? for all shall know me, from the least 
of them unto the greatest of them,' as said Jeremy the 
prophet. It is bowing down to an ignorant state of mind, to 
suppose that there is no other power whereby we can come 
unto God, but by one of the offspring of Abraham, and that 
we have need to go back to the law which was given to the 
Israelites, and to no other people. He has never made any 
covenant with any other people, but that which he made 
with our first parents. That is the covenant that has been 
made with all the nations of the earth. 

"He justifies for good and condemns for evil. And 
although every action is to be from the operation of his 
power, yet he has given us the privilege to obey or disobey ; 
here now is a self-evident truth ; as they have the liberty 
to choose, so if they do that which is contrary to his will, 
and so slay the Divine life in the soul : and thus they have 
slain the innocent Lamb of God in the soul, which is the 
same thing. All that we want, is to return to the inward 

5 The same, p. 60. 


light in the soul. The Lord had declared beforehand unto 
them in plain characters, that none need to say, 'Know ye 
the Lord ? for I will be merciful to them, I will forgive their 
iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.' This 
was equally the case until the law was abolished : until he 
blotted out the handwriting of the law, and put an end to 
outward ordinances. The law was fulfilled when they had 
crucified him, then it was that that law was abolished that 
consisted in making their atonements which all had to make. 
"The people could not understand the doctrine de- 
livered in the sermon on the mount, although plainly 
preached to them. Jesus, when about to take leave of his 
disciples, left this charge with them : 'Tarry at Jerusalem 
until the Holy Ghost come upon you' ; and then, and not 
till then, were they to bear witness unto him. He told 
them that it would bring everything to their remembrance : 
everything which is by the preaching of the gospel brought 
to your remembrance ; therefore he says : 'All things shall 
be brought to your remembrance.' They would not then 
be looking to anything outward, because he had filled them 
with the Spirit of truth. What is this, but this Comforter 
which reproves the world of sin? All that will obey the 
voice of this reprover in the soul are in the way of redemp- 
tion and salvation. 'By disobedience, sin entered into the 
world and death by sin : but life and immortality is brought 
to light by the gospel.' I am willing to leave you, and I 
recommend you to God, and the power of his grace, which is 
able to build you up, as you are faithful to its operation." c 

The last meeting of the series was held in connection 
with Nine Partners Quarterly Meeting, Fifth month 9th. 
This was evidently the closing session of the Quarterly 
Meeting. From these published sermons it would seem 
that Elias Hicks and George Jones were the only Friends 
who engaged in vocal ministry that day. There was nothing 
specially relevant to the controversy going on in the Society 
in either of these short discourses. 

In reading this collection of sermons one cannot avoid 
the conclusion that, apart from dissimilarity in phraseology, 
and the matters involved in interpreting Scripture, these 

8 The same, p. 71. 


Friends had much in common. Had they been minded to 
seek for the common ground, it is quite probable that the) 
would have found that they were really quarreling- over 
the minor, rather than the major, propositions. 

In Eighth month, 1828. Elias Hicks was on his last 
religious visit to the Western Yearly Meetings. The ''sep- 
aration" in the Xew York Yearly Meeting had taken place 
in Fifth month, the trouble then passing to the Quarterly 
and particular meetings. It reached Nine Partners at the 
Quarterly Meeting held as above. Ann Jones attended this 
meeting, the last sermon in the little volume from which 
the extracts given in this chapter are taken having been 
preached by this Friend. There was little new matter in 
this sermon. Much, by inuendo, was laid at the door of 
those who were pronounced unorthodox, and who consti- 
tuted a majority of the meeting. 

So far as the charge of persecution is concerned, it was 
repeatedly employed by Elias Hicks and his sympathizers 
in describing the spirit and conduct of the orthodox part}-. 
In this particular, at least, the disputants on both sides were 
very much alike. Ann Jones' reference to throwing- down 
"his elders and prophets" contains more touching the 
animus of the controversy than the few words really indi- 
cate. As will be somewhat clearly shown in these pages. 
the trouble in the Society quite largely had reference to 
authority in the church, and its arbitrary exercise by a select 
few, constituting a sort of spiritual and social hierarchy in 
the monthly meetings. It was this authoritative class which 
had been "thrown down,'' or was likely to be so repudiated. 

We would by no means claim that with the "separation" 
an accomplished fact, the body of Friends not of the ortho- 
dox party thus gathered by themselves became at once and 
continuously relieved of the arbitrary spirit. The history 
of this branch of the Society from 1827 to 1875. and in 



places clown to date, would entirely disprove any such claim. 
It would seem that wherever the Society lost ground numer- 
ically, and wherever its spiritual life dwindled, it was due 
largely because some sort of arbitrary authority ignored 
the necessity for real spiritual unity, and discounted the 
spiritual democracy upon which the Society of Friends was 

The ''separation" in the Quarterly Meetings in 
Dutchess County was perfected in Eighth month, 1828. 
Both Anna Braithwaite and Ann Jones were in attendance, 
and evidently took part in the developments at that time. 
Elias Hicks was on his last religious visit to the "far west." 
Informing partnership letters were sent to Elias, then in 
Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, by Jacob and Deborah Willetts, 8 under 
date of Eighth month 18, 1828. Jacob gave brief but ex- 
plicit information as to the division in the several meetings. 
For instance, he says that in Oswego Monthly Meeting one- 
sixth of the members went orthodox. At Creek, about one- 
fourth left to form an orthodox meeting, about the same 
proportion existing at Stanford. Nine Partners seems to 
have been the center of the difficulty, the orthodox leader- 
ship apparently having been more vigorous at that point. 
Still, about three-fourths of the members refused to join 
the orthodox. A very brief appreciation of the trans- 
atlantic visitors is given in Jacob's letter. He says : "The 
English Friends are very industrious, but I do not find that 

8 Jacob and Deborah Willetts were friendly educators in the first 
half of the nineteenth century. Jacob became principal of Nine 
Partners boarding school in T803, when only 18 years of age, and 
Deborah Rogers principal of the girl's department in 1806, when at 
the same age. Jacob Willetts and Deborah Rogers were married in 
1812. At the time of the "separation," Nine Partners' school passed 
into the hands of the Orthodox, and Jacob and Deborah resigned their 
positions, and started a separate school, which they conducted success- 
fully for nearly thirty years. Jacob was the author of elementary 
text books of arithmetic and geography, and Deborah was an ac- 
complished grammarian, and assisted Gould Brown in the preparation 
of his once well-known English Grammar. 


it amounts to much. Friends have generally become 
acquainted with their manoeuvring." 

Deborah's letter was both newsy and personal, and 
threw interesting sidelights on the "separation" experiences. 
At the close of a sermon by Ann Jones, Eighth month 5th, 
she made reference to the sudden death of a woman 
Friend of the orthodox party, which is thus referred to in 
this letter : 

"Perhaps thou wilt hear ere this reaches thee of the 
death of Ann Willis. She died at William Warings on her 
way home from Purchase Quarterly Meeting, in an apo- 
plectic fit. At our Quarterly Meeting Ann Jones told us 
of the dear departed spirit of one who had lived an un- 
spotted life, who passed away without much bodily suffer- 
ing, and whose soul was now clothed in robes of white, sing- 
ing glory, might and majesty with angels forever and ever: 
which amounted nearly to a funeral song." 

We make the following extract from the letter of Deb- 
orah Willetts because of its interesting references and state- 
ments : 

"A week ago I returned from Stanford Quarterly Meet- 
ing held at Hudson. All the English force was there save 
T. Shillitoe with a large re-enforcement from New York, 
but they were headed by 15 men and 25 women of the com- 
mittee of Friends, and a great many attended from the 
neighboring meetings, Coevmans, Rensalaerville, Saratoga, 
&c. The city was nearly full. Anna Braithwaite and suite 
took lodgings at the hotel. It was the most boisterous 
meeting I ever attended. The clerks in each meeting were 
orthodox, but Friends were favored to appoint others who 
opened the meeting. Anna Braithwaite had much to say 
to clear up the charges against her in circulation that their 
expenses had been borne by Friends, which she said was 
false, and never had been done but in two instances, and 
mentioned it twice or three times that her dear husband 
felt it a very great pleasure to meet all expenses she might 
incur, and she would appeal to those present for the truth 
of what she had said, and then Ann Jones, Claussa Griffin, 
Ruth Hallock, Sarah Upton and some others immediately 
attested to the truth of it. Oh, how inconsistent is all this 


in a Friends' meeting. She also gave a long statement oi 
the separation at Yearly Meeting, but she was reminded of 
her absence at the time, but she replied Ann Jones had 
informed her. She accused Friends of holding erroneous 
doctrine and said Phebe I. Merritt did not believe in the 
atonement for sin. Phebe said she denied the charge, when 
Anna turning and looking stern in her face said, 'Did thou 
not say, Phebe M erritt, all the reproof thou felt for sin was 
in thy own breast?' Phebe then arose and was favored to 
express her views in a clear way with an affecting circum- 
stance that she experienced in her childhood that brought 
such a solemnity over the meeting that almost disarmed 
Anna of her hostile proceedings. She stood upon her feet 
the while ready to reply but began in a different tone of 
voice, and changed the subject, and very soon after, Ann 
Jones made a move to adjourn when they could hold Stan- 
ford Quarterly Meeting, which was seconded by several 
others and Friends in the meantime as cordially and 
silently uniting with them in the motion. They then 
retired without reading an adjournment, I afterwards 
learnt, to the Presbyterian Conference room. I dined in 
company with Willett Hicks, who said he was surprised to 
see so few sro with them after such a noble effort." 

The Experience with T. Shillitoe. 

The first day after his arrival in America, Thomas 
Shillitoe * attended Hester Street Meeting, in New York. 
He tells that "it was reported that he had come over to help 
the Friends of Elias Hicks." 2 As this Friend came into 
collision with Elias several times, and was second to none 
in vigor and virulence among his antagonists, either 
domestic or foreign, it seems proper to review his con- 
nection with the controversy, because some added light may 
thus be thrown on the spirit and purpose of the opposition 
to Elias Hicks. 

Of the experience on that first meeting in America the 
venerable preacher says : "I found it hard work to rise upon 
my feet, but believing that the offer of the best of all help 
was made, I ventured and was favored to clear my mind 
faithfully, and in a manner I apprehended would give such 
of the followers of Elias Hicks as were present a pretty 
clear idea of the mistake they had been under of my being 
come over to help their unchristian cause." 3 

He had not been seen at that time to converse with a 

1 Thomas Shillitoe was born in London "about the Second month, 
1754," Elias Hicks being six years his senior. His parents were not 
Friends. At one time his father kept an inn. Joined Grace Church 
Street Monthly Meeting in London about 1775. Was acknowledged 
a minister at Tottenham in 1790. He learned the grocery business, and 
afterward entered a banking house. Finally learned shoemaker's trade, 
and had a shop. Was married in 1778. Came to America in 1826, ar- 
riving in New York, Ninth month 8th. While here traveled ex- 
tensively, visiting certain Indian tribes. In 1827 he had an interview 
with President Andrew Jackson. He left New York for Liverpool in 
Eighth month, 1829, having been in this country nearly three year-. 
Thomas Shillitoe died in 1836. 

2 "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe," Vol 2, p. 150. 

3 "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe," Vol. 2, p. 151. 



single friend of Elias Hicks, and there is no evidence that 
during the three years he was in America he mingled at 
all with any Friends who were not of the so-called orthodox 

During the week following his arrival in this country. 
Thomas Shillitoe visited Jericho by way of Westbury. Re- 
garding his visit he says : 

"We took our dinner with G. Seaman ; after which we 
proceeded to Jericho, and took up our abode this night with 
our kind friend, Thomas Willis. In passing through the 
village of Jericho, Elias Hicks was at his own door; he 
invited me into his own house to take up my abode, which 
I found I could not have done, even had we not previously 
concluded to take up our abode with T. Willis. I refused 
his offer in as handsome a manner as I well knew how. 
He then pressed me to make him a call ; I was careful to 
make such a reply as would not make it binding upon me, 
although we had to pass his door on our way to the next 
meeting. I believe it was safest for me not to comply with 
his request." 4 

G. Seaman, mentioned above, became the first clerk of 
the Orthodox Monthly Meeting of Westbury and Jericho, 
organized after the "separation," and Thomas Willis was 
the Friend who should probably be called the father of 
the opposition to Elias Hicks. Had the English visitor 
determined from the start to hear nothing, and know noth- 
ing but one side of the controversy, he could not have more 
fully made that possible than by the intercourse he had with 
Friends on this continent. 

To show how bent he was not to be influenced or con- 
taminated by those not considered orthodox, it may be 
noted that while in Jericho he was visited by Friends in that 
neighborhood, who urged him to call on them. He was at 
first inclined to acquiesce, but after "waiting where the 
divine counsellor is to be met with," he changed his mind. 

4 "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe." Vol. 2. p. T54. 


remarking, "I afterwards understood some of these indi- 
viduals were of Elias Hicks's party." 5 

The New York Yearly Meeting of 1827 was attended 
by all of the ministering Friends and their companions 
from England, viz : Thomas Shillitoe, Elizabeth Robson, 
George and Ann Jones, Isaac and Anna Braithwaite. There 
seems to have been a foreshadowing of trouble in this 
yearly meeting. Elizabeth Robson asked for a minute to 
visit men's meeting, which met with some opposition, and 
was characterized by confusion in carrying out the purpose. 
Elias Hicks says nothing about the matter in his Journal, 
and no reference was made to this Friend in his personal 
correspondence. The English Friends left New York 
before the close of the Yearly Meeting, to attend New 
England Yearly Meeting. 

It is not our purpose to follow the wanderings of 
Thomas Shillitoe in America. He was at the New York 
Yearly Meeting again in 1828, at the time of the "separa- 
tion." Touching this occasion, the minutes of the meeting 
in question furnish some information, as follows : "Thomas 
Shillitoe, who is in this country on a religious visit from 
England, objected to the company of some individuals who 
were present with us, and members of a neighboring yearly 
meeting, stating that they had been regularly disowned," 
etc. 6 For thus dictating to the yearly meeting, Thomas 
Shillitoe presented this justification : 

"I obtained a certificate from my own monthly meeting 
and quarterly meeting, and also one from the Select Yearly 
Meeting of Friends held in London, expressive of their 
concurrence with my traveling in the work of the ministry 
on this continent, which certificates were read in the last 

5 "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe," Vol. 2, p. 154. 

6 From Minute Book of New York Yearly Meeting, session of 


Yearly Meeting of New York, and entered in the records 
of that Yearly Meeting; such being the case, it constitutes 
me as much a member of this Yearly Meeting as any other 
member of it." 6 

This may have been according to good society order 
and etiquette eighty odd years ago, but would hardly pass 
current in our time. For a visitor in a meeting to object 
to the presence of other visitors, on the ground of rumor 
and with no regular or official evidence of the charges 
against them, would probably put the objector into disfavor. 
But we are not warranted in passing harsh judgment in 
the nineteenth-century case. The English Friends, right or 
wrong, came to this country under the impression that they 
were divinely sent to save the Society of Friends in America 
from going to the bad. At the worst, it was a case of 
assuming the care of too many consciences. 

Soon after the close of the New York Yearly Meeting 
of 1828, both Thomas Shillitoe and Elias Hicks started on 
a western trip. Elias seems to have preceded the English 
Friend by a few days. The two men met at Westland. 7 
At this place Thomas says that Elias denied that Jesus was 
the son of God, until after the baptism, and opposed the 
proper observance of the Sabbath. 8 Of course, the state- 
ments of Elias were controverted by his fellow-preacher, 
or, at least, an attempt to do so was made. It should be 
understood that Elias denied that Jesus was the son of God 
in the sense in which Thomas conceived he was, and he 
undoubtedly antagonized the observance of the Sabbath in 
the slavish way which considered that man was secondary 
to the institution. 

Part of the mission of our English Friend from this 

"Journal of Thomas Shillitoe." Vol. 2. p. 311. 

T Sec page 47 of this hook. 

""Journal of Thomas Shillitoe." Vol. 2, p. 328. 


time seems to have been to oppose Elias Hicks, and turn 
the minds of the people against him. They both attended 
Redstone Monthly Meeting. Here Elias presented his 
minute of unity and the other evidences of good faith which 
he possessed. At this point Thomas says : "Observing a 
disposition in most of the members of the meeting to have 
these minutes read in the meeting, I proposed to the meet- 
ing to consider how far with propriety they could read 
them; after their Meeting for Sufferings had given forth 
a testimony against the doctrines of Elias Hicks. But a 
determination to read his minutes being manifested, Friends 
were obliged to submit." 9 

Taken altogether, this is a remarkable statement. The 
"testimony" referred to was the "declaration of faith" 10 
published by the Philadelphia Meeting for Sufferings. 
This document did not mention Elias Hicks, and failed to 
secure the approval of the Yearly Meeting, before the 
"separation." It is evident that "most of the members" 
were with Elias Hicks on this occasion. Only the few 
opposers were "Friends"; so the statement infers. 

The two preachers are next heard from at Redstone, 
Quarterly Meeting, where Thomas was disposed to practice 
an act of self-denial. He told the meeting that he preferred 
his own minute should not be read, if Elias Hicks's was 
received. We have some evidence from Elias Hicks him- 
self regarding this incident, in a letter written to Valentine 
and Abigail Hicks, from Pittsburg, Eighth month 5, 1828, 
stating the proposition of Thomas Shillitoe regarding his 
minute. Elias says : "Friends took him at his word, and 
let him know that they should not minute it, but insisted 
that mine should be minuted, expressing very general satis- 
faction with my company and service, and reprobated his 

* "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe," Vol. 2, p. 330. 

19 See page 139 of this book. 24 


in plain terms, and charged him and his companion with 
breach of the order and discipline of the Society, and 
insisted that the elders and overseers should stop at the 
close of the meeting and see what could be done to put a 
stop to such disorderly conduct." 

Thomas then says that he exposed Elias Hicks as 
an impostor "in attempting as he did to impose himself upon 
the public as a minister in unity with the Society of 
Friends; the Society having, by a printed document, de- 
clared against his doctrine, and himself as an approved 
minister." X1 Evidently this was another reference to the 
much-lauded "declaration of faith," although this did not 
represent an actually authoritative declaration of the So- 
ciety. At its best, Philadelphia's Meeting for Sufferings 
was not the Society of Friends ; but the people still wanted 
to hear Elias. They apparently preferred to interpret him 
at first-hand. 

Thomas Shillitoe tells us that when they crossed the 
Ohio River he talked with the woman at the ferry, who 
protested against the ideas of Elias Hicks, and then remarks : 
"She kept a tavern, and I left with her one of the declara- 
tions, requesting her to circulate it amongst her neigh- 
bors." 12 Evidently the publican, in this case, was sound in 
the faith as held by the English preacher. 

Mt. Pleasant was next visited by both Friends, pre- 
ceding and at Ohio Yearly Meeting. They do not seem to 
have come personally into collision at this point, and insofar 
as either makes reference to the occurrences there, they are 
in substantial agreement. 13 Thomas Shillitoe bears mildly 
veiled testimony to the desire of the people to hear Elias 
Hicks, in the following statement : "From the great con- 

11 "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe," Vol. 2, p. 331. 
1S "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe,"' Vol. 2, p. 332. 
33 For other reference to this matter, see page 49 of this book. 


course of people we passed in the afternoon on the way 
to Short Creek Meeting, where Elias Hicks was to be, I 
had cherished a hope we should have had a quiet meeting 
at Mt. Pleasant.'' 14 But the contrary was the case; to 
whom the blame was due, the reader may decide. 

It is to be presumed that these two Friends, both of 
whom performed valuable service for the Society, according 
to their lights and gifts, never met after their western 
experience. For the want of understanding each other, 
they went their way not as fellow-servants, but as strangers, 
if not enemies. The unity of the spirit was obliterated in 
a demand for uniformity of speculative doctrine. 

14 "J° urna l of Thomas Shillitoe, Vol. 2, p. 343. 


Disownment and Doctrine. 

The "separation" was accomplished in most meetings 
in the East by the withdrawal of the orthodox party, after 
which they set up new meetings for worship and discipline. 
In a minority of meetings the orthodox held the property 
and the organization, and the other Friends withdrew. At 
Jericho and Westbury the great majority of the members 
remained, and continued to occupy the old meeting-houses. 
The orthodox who separated from the Westbury and 
Jericho Monthly Meetings organized the Monthly Meeting 
of Westbury and Jericho, as has already been mentioned. 

In 1829, when the new monthly meeting was formed, 
the membership of Westbury Monthly Meeting was as 
follows : Westbury Preparative Meeting, 193 ; Matinecock 
Preparative Meeting, 121; Cow Neck (now Manhassett), 
65 ; total, 379. Of this number, accessions to the orthodox 
were : From Westbury Preparative Meeting, 32 ; Matine- 
cock Preparative Meeting, 2 ; Cow Neck Preparative Meet- 
ing, 5 ; total, 39. In Jericho the members of the monthly 
meeting^ Fifth month, 1829, numbered 225. Of this num- 
ber, nine left to join the Monthly Meeting of Westbury 
and Jericho, and five were undetermined in their choice. 
Giving the latter meeting the benefit of the doubt, and 
assigning to it the five uncertain members, the meeting that 
disowned Elias Hicks was composed of fifty-three members, 
of whom thirteen were minors and five of only mild 

A simple mathematical calculation will show that the 


Monthly Meeting of Westbury and Jericho contained 10 per 
cent, of the Friends who had been members of the two 
original monthly meetings, which meetings still survived, 
retaining 90 per cent, of the members. These figures will 
throw suggestive light on what follows. 

It was the Westbury and Jericho Monthly Meeting 
which, on the 29th of Fourth month, 1829, adopted the 
"testimony against Elias Hicks," called his disownment. It 
contained specified charges, which may be condensed as 
follows : He denied the influence or existence of an evil 
spirit ; doubted the fall of man, and his redemption through 
Christ; endeavored to "destroy a belief in the miraculous 
conception of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" ; also 
rejected a "belief in his holy offices, his propitiatory offer- 
ing for the redemption of mankind; and has denied his 
resurrection and ascension into heaven" ; "he also denied 
his mediation and intercession with the Father." He was 
charged with too much industry in promulgating his views, 
causing great numbers to embrace them, "and has at length 
become the leader of a sect distinguished by his name." 
He was also charged with meeting with, and countenancing 
by his presence and conduct, those who had "separated" 
from Friends. This had reference to many meetings of a 
large majority of the Society held at various places in 1828. 
The "testimony" also alleges that he had many times been 
tenderly admonished and advised, but that he and his friends 
"prevented the timely exercise of the discipline in his case." 
It all, without doubt, sounded very formidable to the little 
company of Friends who formulated and issued the 

This was a remarkable document in more ways than 
one. The meeting which issued it assumed an authority in 
conduct hard now to understand, and asserted as facts mere 
assumptions, and yet we are bound to believe that, in the 
main, they thought they were performing God's service. 


It must be remembered that the orthodox Friends, in 1829, 
everywhere operated on the theory that those who con- 
sidered themselves "sound in doctrine," no matter how few 
in numbers, were the Society of Friends, in direct descent 
from the founders of the faith. It was their religious duty 
to excommunicate all whom they considered unsound, even 
though those disowned might constitute the overwhelming- 
portion of the meeting. That this was the sincere convic- 
tion of the orthodox Friends all through the "separation" 
period, and also before and after it, is a demonstrable fact 
of history. There was also a marked disposition to adhere 
to tradition and to cling to former precedents. If there 
had ever been a time when Friends had been disowned on 
account of theological opinions, the practice should be kept 
up, and practically continued forever. 

That there was a considerable amount of precedent 
for disowning Friends on points of doctrine is undoubtedly 
true. In the famous New Jersey Chancery trial, Samuel 
Parsons gave several cases of such disownment. 1 They 
involved cases in half a dozen monthly meetings, and 
included charges as follows : Denying the miraculous con- 
ception; denying the divinity of Jesus Christ; denying the 
authenticity of the Scriptures ; promulgating the belief that 
the souls of the wicked would be annihilated. 

The orthodox Friends might have done still better, and 
cited the case of John Bartram, 2 the father of American 
botany, who was disowned by Darby Monthly Meeting in 
1758, for deistical and other unorthodox opinions. It has 

1 "Foster's Report," Vol. 1, p. 171. 

2 John Bartram, born near Darby, Pa., Third month 23, 1699. 
Was the earliest native American botanist. He died Ninth month 
22, 1777. Bartram traveled extensively in the American colonies in 
pursuit of his botanical studies and investigations. He established 
the Bartram Botanical Gardens near the Schuykill River, which are 
still often visited. 


been supposed that Bartram was disowned by Friends for 
placing the following inscription over his door : 

" 'Tis God alone, Almighty Lord, 
The Holy One by me adored. 
John Bartram, 1770." 

As this sentiment is dated twelve years after the dis- 
ownment, 3 it is evident that it was not the primary cause 
of the action taken by Darby Monthly Meeting. 

During the period of repression in the Society, last- 
ing from about 1700 to 1850, it was not hard to find prece- 
dent for disowning members on almost any ground, so that 
the treatment of Elias Hicks, on account of alleged 
"unsound" doctrine calls for no complaint on the score of 
regularity. Disowning members for that cause in one 
branch of Friends to-day would be practically inconceivable. 
Its wisdom at any time was doubtful, and, in spite of 
precedents, the practice was not general. 

The main point in this transaction, however, is that 
the meeting which issued the "testimony" against Elias 
Hicks had no jurisdiction in the case. As a matter of fact, 
he was never a member of the meeting in question, unless it 
be assumed that 10 per cent, of two monthly meetings can 
flock by themselves, organize a new meeting, and take over 
the 90 per cent, without their knowledge or consent. 

In the main, we do not care to consider or discuss the 
points in the "testimony" under consideration. Those who 
have followed the pages of this book thus far will be able 
to decide whether the main causes as stated by those who 
prepared and approved the document were true in fact, and 
whether they would have constituted a sufficient reason for 
the action of the Monthly Meeting of Westbury and Jericho, 
had it possessed any authority in the case. 

3 "Memorials of John Bartram and Humphrey Marshall," by 
William Darlington, 1849, p. 42. 


Just what Elias Hicks thought regarding- the matter of 
Society and disciplinary authority in his case, we have docu- 
mentary evidence. In a private letter he said: "For how 
can they disown those who never attended their meetings, 
nor never had seen the inside of their new-built meeting- 
houses, and who never acknowledged their little separate 
societies? Would it not be as rational and consistent with 
right order for a Presbyterian or a Methodist society to 
treat with and disown us for not attending their meetings, 
and not acknowledging their creed ?" 4 

There is one point in the "testimony" which cannot so 
easily or reasonably be ignored. It says that Elias Hicks 
"has at length become the leader of a sect, distinguished by 
his name, yet unjustly assuming the character of Friends." 
From the assumed standpoint of those who made this state- 
ment of fact, it had no warrant. That body of Friends in, 
at least, the Yearly Meetings of New York, Philadelphia, 
and Baltimore, which at the time of the "separation" housed 
two-thirds of all the members, was as much entitled to be 
called Friends, and assume their "character," as the mi- 
nority. The distinguishing epithet was not of their select- 
ing or adoption, and those who applied it could scarcely with 
propriety force it upon those who did not claim it or want it. 
As for leadership, the outcome in 1827-28 was accomplished 
without either the presence or assistance of Elias Hicks in 
a majority of cases. If those who left the parent meetings 
and set up meetings of their own were the "separatists," 
then, in a majority of cases, the name belonged to the party 
that opposed Elias Hicks, and not to that body of Friends 
who objected to the Society being divided or perpetuated 
because of the personality or the preaching of any one man. 

It has to be said that the disowning at the time of the 
"separation" was not all on one side. Jericho Monthly 

* Letter to Johnson Legg, Twelfth month 15, 1829. 


Meeting "testified against" at least four of the orthodox 
party. But in every such case, so far as we are aware, no 
charges regarding doctrine were made against any. The 
disownments took place because the persons involved had be- 
come connected with other meetings, and did not attend the 
gatherings of that branch of Friends who issued disown- 
ments. Both sides undoubtedly did many things at the 
time which later would have been impossible. 

Elias Hicks evidently approved the general order of 
the Society in his time touching disownments. In a letter 
directed to "My Unknown Friend," but having no date, he 
deals with the disownment question. He goes on to say 
that it had been the practice of the Society to disown mem- 
bers for more than a century, when such members had 
deviated "from the established order of Society," and he 
reaches the conclusion that not to follow this course would 
lead to "confusion and anarchy." He then says : "These 
things considered, it appears to me the most rational and 
prudent, when a particular member of any society dissents 
in some particular tenet from the rest of that society, if 
such dissent break communion and render it necessary in 
the judgment of such society that a separation take place 
between them, that it be done in the same way, and agree- 
able to the general practice of such society in like cases." 

It is quite certain, however, that Elias Hicks did not 
think that disputed points of doctrine offered a sufficient 
ground for disownment in the Society of Friends. In a 
letter to David Evans, written at Jericho, Twelfth month 
25, 1829, he says: "I apprehend that if the Friends who 
took part in the controversy on the side of the miraculous 
conception, and those on the opposition, will fully examine 
both sides of the question, they will find themselves more or 
less in error, as neither can produce sufficient evidence to 
enforce a rational conviction on others. . . . Surely, 



then, we who believe in the miraculous conception ought 
not to censure our brethren in profession for having a dif- 
ferent opinion from ours, and especially as we have no 
knowledge of the subject in any wise, but from history and 
tradition. Surely, then, both parties are very far off the 
true Christian foundation for keeping up the controversy, 
inasmuch as it never has had the least tendency to gather 
on the one hand or the other, but always to scatter and 
divide, and still has the same baneful tendency." 

The reader will not fail to consider that at this late 
period Elias Hicks reiterates his personal belief in the 
miraculous conception, although the "testimony" of dis- 
ownment against him charged that he was "endeavoring to 
destroy a belief in that doctrine." Whatever may have 
been his belief regarding the matter, it is clear that he did 
not consider acceptance or rejection of the doctrine a deter- 
mining quality in maintaining a really Christian fellowship. 

After the "Separation." 

A letter dated Solebury, Pa., Sixth month 21, 1828, 
told of some experiences on his last western trip. It was 
addressed to his son-in-law, Valentine Hicks. On the jour- 
ney from Jericho to New York, Elias was very much 
annoyed, if not vexed, by the crowds of "vain and foolish 
people coming" from the city and its suburbs to see horses 
trot.'' ''How ridiculous and insignificant," he says, "is such 
foolish conduct for professed rational beings ! I can 
scarcely conceive in thought an epithet degrading enough to 
give a just estimate of such irrational conduct." 

The "separation" had just been accomplished in the New 
York Yearly Meeting, and as this was the first visit he had 
made to the local meetings and Friendly neighborhoods 
since that event, it is a matter of interest to learn from his 
own hand how he was received by Friends in the meetings. 
Rose and Hester Street Meetings, in New York, were 
attended the First-day after leaving home. Elias says, in 
the letter mentioned : "The}' were both large, solemn meet- 
ings, showing evidently the comfort and benefit Friends 
have derived from the orthodox troubles, (they) having 
separated themselves from us." This may have been the 
superficial view of many who were prominent in sustaining 
Elias Hicks. They failed to see, as did their opponents, 
that the "separation" no matter which side went off, was a 
violation of the real spirit of Quakerism. It was an un- 
fortunate acknowledgment that "unity of the spirit" was a 
failure, if it required absolute uniformity of doctrine for 
its maintenance. 



Passing over to New Jersey, he reports universal 
kindly treatment. In this particular he remarks : 

''Indeed we have found nothing in the least degree to 
discourage or impede our progress, unless it be an excess 
of kindness from our friends, who can hardly give us up 
to pass on, without favoring them with a visit in their own 
houses. And not only Friends, but many who are not 
members manifest much friendly regard and respect. On 
Fourth-day we attended Friends' Monthly Meeting for 
Rahway and Plainfield held at Plainfield, Friends having 
given their neighbors notice of our intention to be there, 
it was largely attended by those of other professions, and 
some of the orthodox Friends, contrary to the expectation 
of Friends also attended. It was truly a very solemn and 
instructive good meeting, in which truth reigned. I was 
truly comforted in the meeting for discipline in viewing 
Friends' order, and the unity and harmony that prevailed, 
and the brotherly condescension that was manifested in 
transacting their business." 

Elias Hicks evidently possessed what might be called 
a grain of humor. In Eleventh month, 1828, when prac- 
tically all of the "separations" had been accomplished, he 
wrote to his wife from Redstone, Pa. He had not been 
getting letters from home as he desired, and especially was 
that true regarding the much- valued missives from 
Jemima. He, therefore, says, toward the end of this par- 
ticular epistle : "If I do not receive some direct account 
from home at one or both of these places (Alexandria or 
Baltimore), I shall be ready to conclude that my friends 
have forg-otten me or turned orthodox." 

Evidently there had been a readjustment of society 
conditions in this neighborhood. He says: "Divers friends, 
whose names I have forgotten, and some who have never 
seen thee, but love thee on my account, desired to be affec- 
tionately remembered to thee. Indeed, love and harmony 
so abound among Friends in these parts, and the more they 
are persecuted, the more love abounds, insomuch that I have 


observed to them in some places, that if they continued 
faithful to the openings of truth on the mind, that they 
would so exalt the standard of love and light, that the old 
adage would be renewed, 'See how the Quakers love one 
another.' " 

Returning from the long- western trip, considered in 
Chapter VI, Elias was met in New York by his wife and 
daughter Elizabeth, where VVestbury Quarterly Meeting- 
was attended. Many near and dear Friends greeted the 
aged minister, inwardly, if not outwardly, congratulating 
him upon his safe return home, and the labors so faithfully 
performed. In mentioning the event, Elias says : "It was 
truly a season of mutual rejoicing, and my spirit was deeply 
humbled under a thankful sense of the Lord's preserving- 
power and adorable mercy, in carrying me through and 
over all opposition, both within and without. He caused 
all to work together for good, and the promotion of his own 
glorious cause of truth and righteousness in the earth, and 
landed me safe in the bosom of my dear family and friends 
at home, and clothed my spirit with the reward of sweet 
peace for all my labor and travail. Praises, everlasting 
high praises be ascribed unto our God, for his mercy 
endureth forever." 1 

Dark days were approaching, and the heavy hand of a 
great sorrow was about to be laid upon this strong man, 
who had buffeted many storms, and who seemed now to be 
feeling a period of calm and quiet. But we shall let Elias 
Hicks tell the details in his own words : 

"Soon after my return from the aforesaid journey, I had 
to experience a very severe trial and affliction in the removal 
of my dearly beloved wife. She was taken down with a 
cold, and although, for a number of days, we had no antici- 
pation of danger from her complaint, yet about five days 

1 "Journal," p. 425. 


after she was taken, the disorder appeared to settle on her 
lungs, and it brought on an inflammation which terminated 
in a dissolution of her precious life, on the ninth day from 
the time she was taken ill. She had but little bodily pain, 
yet as she became weaker, she suffered from shortness of 
breathing; but before her close, she became perfectly tran- 
quil and easy, and passed away like a lamb, as though 
entering into a sweet sleep, without sigh or groan, or the 
least bodily pain, on the 17th of Third "month, 1829: And 
her precious spirit, I trust and believe, has landed safely on 
the angelic shore, 'where the wicked cease from troubling, 
and the weary are at rest.' To myself, to whom she was a 
truly affectionate wife, and to our children, whom she en- 
deavored, by precept and example, to train up in the paths 
of virtue, and to guard and keep out of harm's way, her 
removal is a great and irreparable loss : and nothing is left 
to us in that behalf, but a confident belief and an unshaken 
hope, that our great loss is her still greater gain ; and 
although the loss and trial, as to all my external blessings, 
are the greatest I have ever met with, or ever expect to 
have to endure, yet I have a hope, that, though separated, 
I may be preserved from mourning or complaining ; and 
that I may continually keep in view the unmerited favour 
dispensed to us, by being preserved together fifty-eight 
years in one unbroken bond of endeared affection, which 
seemed if possible to increase with time to the last moment 
of her life ; and which neither time nor distance can lessen 
or dissolve ; but in the spiritual relation I trust it will 
endure for ever, where all the Lord's redeemed children are 
one in him, who is God over all, in all, and through all, 
blessed forever. She was buried on the 19th, and on this 
solemn occasion, the Lord, who is strength in weakness, 
enabled me to bear a public and, I trust, a profitable testi- 
mony to the virtues and excellences of her long and con- 
sistent life." 2 

Regarding the funeral of Jemima Hicks, and its after- 
math, rumor has been more or less busy. That Elias spoke 
on this occasion is certain. It was his eighty-first birthday. 
His remarks were undoubtedly in harmony, both as to the 
matter and the hope of a future reunion, with the extract 

2 "Journal," p 425. 


printed above. There is in existence what purports to be 
matter copied from a Poughkeepsie newspaper relating to 
this event. The statement is supplemented by a '"poem," 
entitled "Orthodox Reflections on the Remarks Made by 
Elias Hicks at His Wife's Funeral." These verses are 
both theological and savage. Elias is assured that, because 
of his belief, he cannot hope to ''rest in heaven." or meet 
his wife there. What is strange, however, is that verses, 
signed "Elias Hicks," and in reply to the poetical attack, 
are also given. The first-mentioned rhyme may be genuine, 
as it voices an opinionated brutality and boldness which was 
not uncommon in dealing with the future life eighty years 
ago. But we can hardly imagine Elias Hicks being a 
"rhymster" under any sort of provocation. If the two 
"poems" were ever printed, touching the matter in question, 
some one besides Elias, undoubtedly is responsible for the 

Near the ist of Sixth month, and a little more than 
three months after the death of his wife, Elias Hicks started 
on his last religious visit. His concern took him to the 
meetings and neighborhoods within the limits of his own 
Yearly Meeting. Nothing unusual is reported on this visit 
until Dutchess County was reached. All of the meetings 
were reported satisfactory. Of the meetings at West 
Branch, Creek and Crum-Elbow, Elias says : 

"Although it was in the midst of harvest, such was 
the excitement produced amongst the people by the oppo- 
sition made by those of our members who had gone off 
from us, and set up separate meetings, that the people at 
large of other societies flocked to those meetings in such 
numbers, that our meeting-houses were seldom large 
enough to contain the assembled multitude ; and we had 
abundant cause for thanksgiving and gratitude to the 
blessed Author of all our mercies, in condescending to mani- 
fest his holy presence, and causing it so to preside as to 
produce a general solemnity, tendering and contriting 


many minds, and comforting and rejoicing the upright in 

heart." 3 


Proceeding up the Hudson, arriving at Albany on 
Seventh-day, Eighth month ist, that evening a large meet- 
ing was held in the statehouse. Those present represented 
the inhabitants generally of the capital city. Many meet- 
ings were attended after leaving Albany, which have now 
ceased to exist. In fact, few, if any, meetings then in 
existence were missed on this journey. The 17th of Eighth 
month he was in Utica. Of the meeting in that city, and 
at Bridgewater, he says : 

"These were not so large as in some other places, 
neither was there as much openness to receive our testi- 
mony as had generally been the case elsewhere. Our 
opposing Friends had filled their heads with so, many 
strange reports, to which they had given credit without 
examination, by which their minds were so strongly preju- 
diced against me, that many in the compass of these two 
last meetings were not willing to see me, nor hear any 
reasons given to show them their mistakes, and that the 
reports they had heard were altogether unfounded : how- 
ever, I was favored to communicate the truth to those who 
attended, so that they generally went away fully satisfied, 
and I left them with peace of mind." 4 

In 1829, under date of Seventh month 9th, in a letter 
written at Oblong, in Westchester County, New York, he 
expresses the feeling that the meeting at Jericho sustains 
important relations to the branch of Friends with which he 
was connected. The letter was written to his children, 
Valentine and Abigail Hicks. In it he says : 

Although absent in body, yet my mind pretty often 
takes a sudden and instantaneous excursion to Jericho, 
clothed with a desire that we who constitute that monthly 
meeting, may keep our eye so single, to the sure and im- 

3 "Journal," p. 428. 

4 "Journal," p. 430. 


movable foundation of the light within, so as to be entirely 
preserved from all fleshly reasonings, which if given way 
to. in the least degree, ever has, and ever will, have a 
tendency to divide in Jacob and scatter in Israel. I con- 
sider that much depends upon the course we take in our 
monthly meeting, as we are much looked up to as an 
example and if we make but a small miss, it may do much 

Twelfth month 15, 1829, Elias Hicks wrote to his 
friend Johnson Legg, evidently in reply to one asking advice 
in regard to his own conduct in relation to the "separation." 
In this letter Elias says : "In the present interrupted and 
disturbed state of our once peaceful and favoured Society, it 
requires great deliberation and humble waiting on the Lord 
for counsel before w r e move forward on the right hand or 
the left. Had this been the case with our brethren of this 
yearly meeting who style themselves orthodox, I very much 
doubt if there would have been anv separation among us. 
For although the chief cause thereof is placed to my account, 
yet I am confident I have given no just cause for it." 

This statement undoubtedly expresses the real feeling 
of Elias Hicks regarding the "separation." He could not 
see why what he repeatedly called "mere opinions" should 
cause a rupture in the Society. It will be noted that he 
still refers to the other Friends as "our brethren," and 
he, apparently, had no i-11-will toward them. The letter from 
which this ^extract was taken was written only about two 
months before his death, and was undoubtedly his last writ- 
ten word on the unfortunate controversy, and the trouble 
that grew out of it. 


Friendly and Unfriendly Critics. 

Few men in their day were more talked about than 
Elias Hicks. The interest in his person and in his preach- 
ing continued for years after his death. While the dis- 
cussion ceased to be warm long years ago, his name is one 
which men of so-called liberal thought still love to conjure 
with, without very clearly knowing the reason why. Some 
clearer light may be thrown upon his life, labor and 
character by a brief review of opinions of those who criti- 
cised him as, friends, and some of them as partisans, and 
those who were his open enemies, . for the theological at- 
mosphere had not yet appeared in which he could be even 
approximately understood by the men of the old school. 

We shall begin the collection of criticisms by quoting 
Edward Hicks, 1 who wrote a comparatively judicial esti- 
mate of his friend and kinsman. After stating that even 
the apostles had their weak side, that Tertullian "was led 
into a foolish extreme by the fanatical notions of Mon- 
tanus;" and that Origen "did immense mischief to the 
cause of primitive Christianity by his extreme attachment 

1 Edward Hicks, a relative of Elias Hicks, was born in Attle- 
boro, Pa., Fourth month 4, 1780. His mother passed away when 
he was an infant, and he was cared for in his early youth by Elizabeth 
Twining, a friend of his mother. When a young man, he became a 
member of Middletown Monthly Meeting in Bucks County by request. 
He began speaking in meeting when about thirty years of age, and 
was a little later recorded as a minister. Edward Hicks for many 
years carried on the business of carriage maker and painter at Newtown, 
Pa. Although much more orthodox in doctrine than his celebrated 
kinsman, he was one of the most ardent friends and defenders of 
Elias Hicks. 



to the Platonic philosophy, scholastic divinity and human 
learning," he remarks : 

"Therefore, it is among the possible circumstances 
that dear Elias was led to an extreme in the Unitarian 
speculation, while opposing the Trinitarian, then increas- 
ing among Friends, and now almost established among 
our orthodox Friends. But I have no recollection of ever 
hearing him in public testimony, and I have heard him 
much, when his speculative views or manner of speaking, 
destroyed the savour of life that attended his ministry, 
or gave me any uneasiness. But I have certainly heard 
to my sorrow, too many of his superficial admirers that 
have tried to copy after him, pretending to wear his crown, 
without knowing anything of his cross, make use of the 
naked term, Jesus, both in public and private, till it sounded 
in my ears as unpleasant, as if coming from the tongue of 
the profane swearer; and on the other hand, I have been 
pained to hear the unnecessary repetition of the terms, our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, from those I verily be- 
lieved Elias's bitter enemies, especially the English 
preachers, and have scarcely a doubt that they were sub- 
stantially breaking the third commandment. And I will 
now add my opinion fearlessly, that Elias was wrong in 
entering into that quibbling controversy with those weak 
Quakers, alluded to in his letter, about the marvellous con- 
ception and parentage of Christ, a delicate and inexplicable 
subject, that seems to have escaped the particular attention 
of what we call the darker ages, to disgrace the highest 
professors of the nineteenth century." 2 

An independent, and in the main, a judicial critic of 
Quakers and Quakerism is Frederick Storrs Turner, an 
Englishman. Some of his estimates and observations of 
Elias Hicks, are both apt and discriminating. Of his 
preaching Turner says : 

"His great theme was the light within ; his one aim 
to promote a true living spiritual, practical Christianity. 
He was more dogmatic and controversial than Woolman. 
There seems to have been in him a revival of the old ag- 

2 "Memoirs of Life and Religious Labors of Edward Hicks," p. 


gressive zeal, and something of the acerbity of the early 
Quakers. 'Hireling priests' were as offensive in his eyes 
as in those of George Fox. He would have no compromise 
with the religions of the world, and denounced all new- 
fangled methods and arrangements for religious work and 
worship in the will of man. He was a Quaker to the back- 
bone, and stood out manfully for the 'ancient simplicity.' " 3 

With still deeper insight Turner continues his analysis : 

"This was his dying testimony : 'The cross of Christ 
is the perfect law of God, written in the heart . . . 
there is but one Lord, one faith, and but one baptism. 
. . . No rational being can be a real Christian and true 
disciple of Christ until he comes to know all these things 
verified in his own experience.' He was a good man, a 
true Christian, and a Quaker of the Quakers. His very 
errors were the errors of a Quaker, and since the generation 
of the personal disciples of George Fox it would be difficult 
to point out any man who had a simpler and firmer faith in 
the central truth of Quakerism than Elias Hicks." 4 

Regarding some of the bitter criticisms uttered against 
Elias Hicks at the time of the controversy in the second 
decade of the nineteenth century, and repeated by the biog- 
raphers and advocates of some of his opponents, Turner 
says : 

"This concensus of condemnation by such excellent 
Christian men would blast Hicks's character effectually, 
were it not for the remembrance that we have heard these 
shrieks of pious horror before. Just so did Faldo and Bax- 
ter, Owen and Bunyan, unite in anathematizing George Fox 
and the first Quakers. Turning from these invectives of 
theological opponents to Hicks's own writings, we at once 
discover that this arch-heretic was a simple, humble-minded, 
earnest Quaker of the old school." 5 

3 "The Quakers ;" a study, historical and critical, by Frederick 
Storrs Turner, 1889, p. 292. 

* The same, p. 293. 

6 The same, p. 291. 


James Mott, St., of Mamaroneck, N. Y., was among 
the friendly, although judicial critics of Elias Hicks. In 
a letter written Eighth month 5, 1805, to Elias, he said: 
"I am satisfied that the master hath conferred on thee a 
precious gift in the ministry, and I have often sat with 
peculiar satisfaction in hearing thee exercise it." He then 
continues, referring to a special occasion : 

"But when thou came to touch on predestination, and 
some other erroneous doctrines, I thought a little zeal was 
suffered to take place, that led into much censoriousness, 
and that expressed in harsh expressions, not only against 
the doctrines, but those who had embraced them. ... I 
have often thought if ministers, when treating on doctrinal 
points, or our belief, were to hold up our principles fully 
and clearly, and particularly our fundamental principle 
of the light within, what it was, and how it operates, there 
would very seldom be occasion for declamation against 
other tenets, however opposite to our own ; nor never 
against those who have- through education or some other 
medium embraced them." 

This would seem to be as good advice at the be- 
ginning of the twentieth century as it was in the first years 
of the nineteenth. 

In the matter of estimating Elias Hicks, Walt Whit- 
man indulged in the following criticism, supplementing an 
estimate of his preaching. Dealing with some opinions of 
the contemporaries of Elias Hicks, he says : 

"They think Elias Hicks had a large element of per- 
sonal ambition, the pride of leadership, of establishing per- 
haps a sect that should reflect his own name, and to which 
he should give special form and character. Very likely, 
such indeed seems the means all through progress and 
civilization, by which strong men and strong convictions 
achieve anything definite. But the basic foundation of 
Elias was undoubtedly genuine religious fervor. He was 
like an old Hebrew prophet. He had the spirit of one, and 
in his later years looked like one." 6 

"The Complete Works of Walt Whitman," Vol. 3, p. 269-270. 


It is not worth while to deny that Elias Hicks was 
ambitious, and desired to secure results in his labor. But 
those who carefully go over his recorded words will find 
little to warrant the literal conclusion of his critics in this 
particular. He probably had no idea at any time of found- 
ing a sect, or perpetuating his name attached to a fragment 
of the Society of Friends, either large or small. He be- 
lieved that he preached the truth ; he wanted men to embrace 
it, as it met the divine witness in their own souls, and not 

Among the severe critics of Elias Hicks is William 
Tallack, who in his book "Thomas Shillitoe," says that 
"many of Elias Hick's assertions are too blasphemous for 
quotation," while W. Hodgson, refers to the "filth" of the 
sentiments of Elias Hicks. But both these Friends use 
words rather loosely. Both must employ their epithets en- 
tirely in a theological, and not a moral sense. Having gone 
over a large amount of the published and private utterances 
of the Jericho preacher, we have failed to find in them even 
an impure suggestion. The bitterness of their attacks, 
simply illustrates the bad spirit in which theological dis- 
cussion is generally conducted. 

The fame of Elias Hicks as a liberalizing influence in 
religion seems to have reached the Orient. Under date, 
"Calcutta, June 29, 1827," the celebrated East Indian, 
Rammohun Roy, 7 addressed an appreciative letter to him. 
It was sent by a Philadelphia!!, J. H. Foster, of the ship 
Georgian, and contained the following expressions : 

"My object in intruding on your time is to express the 

7 Rammohun Roy was born in Bengal in 1772, being a high-class 
Brahmin. He was highly educated, and at one time in the employ of 
the English Government. In comparatively early life he became a 
religious and social reformer, and incurred the enmity of his family. 
He published various works in different languages, including English. 
In 1828 he founded a liberal religious association which grew into the 
Brahmo Somaj. Roy visited England in 1831, and died there in 1833. 


gratification I have felt in reading the sermons you preached 
at different meetings, and which have since been published 
by your friends in America. . . . Every sentence found 
there seems to have proceeded not only from your lips, but 
from your heart. The true spirit of Christian charity and 
belief flows from thee and cannot fall short of making some 
impression on every heart which is susceptible of it. I 
hope and pray God may reward you for your pious life and 
benevolent exertion, and remain with the highest reverence. 
"Your most humble servant, 

"Rammohun Roy." 

A copy of what purports to be a reply to this letter is 
in existence, and is probably genuine, as the language is 
in accordance with the well-known ideas of Elias Hicks. 
Besides, an undated personal letter contains a direct refer- 
ence to the East Indian correspondence. From it we quote : 
"I take my pen to commune with thee in this way on divers 
accounts, and first in regard to a letter I have recently re- 
ceived from Calcutta, subscribed by Rammohun Roy, author 
of a book entitled, 'The Precepts of Jesus, a Guide to Peace 
and Happiness.' " 8 

A request is made that William Wharton will find 
out if the ship-master, Foster, mentioned above, would con- 
vey a letter to Calcutta. Then Elias expresses himself as 
follows : 

"I also feel a lively interest in whatever relates to the 
welfare and progress of that enlightened and worthy Hin- 
doo, believing that if he humbly attends to that hath begun 
a good work in him, and is faithful to its manifestations that 
he will not only witness the blessed effects of it, in his 
own preservation and salvation, but will be made an instru- 
ment in the divine hand of much good to his own people, 
and nation, by spreading the truth, and opening the right 
way of salvation among them, which may no doubt prove 
a great and singular blessing not only to the present, but 
to succeeding generations. And also be a means of open- 

8 From letter written to William Wharton of Philadelphia. 


ing the blind eyes of formal traditional Christians, who 
make a profession of godliness, but deny the power thereof, 
especially those blind guides, mere man-made ministers, 
and self-styled missionaries, sent out by Bible and mission- 
ary societies of man's constituting, under the pretence of 
converting those, who in the pride of their hearts they call 
Heathen, to Christianity, while at the same time, judging 
them by their fruits they themselves, or most of them, 
stand in as great, or greater need, of right conversion." 

Among the present-day critics of Elias Hicks, is Dr. J. 
Rendell Harris, of England. In his paper at the Man- 
chester Conference in 1895, this quotation from Elias Hicks 
is given : "God never made any distinction in the mani- 
festation of his love to his rational creatures. He has 
placed every son and daughter of Adam on the same ground 
and in the same condition that our first parents were in. 
For every child must come clean out of the hands of God." 9 
Doctor Harris says Elias Hicks "was wrong not simply be- 
cause he was unscriptural, but because he was unscien- 
tific." 10 Doctor Harris prefaces this remark by the follow- 
ing comment on the quotation from Elias Hicks : "Now 
suppose such a doctrine to be propounded in this conference 
would not the proper answer, the answer of any modern 
thinker, be (1) that we never had any first parents; (2) 
we were demonstrably not born good." ir We do not at all 
assume that Elias Hicks had no limitations, or that he was 
correct at all points in his thinking, measured by the stand- 
ards of present-day knowledge or any other standard. But 
we must claim that in holding that we had first parents, he 

n "Report of the Proceedings of the Conference of Members of the 
Society of Friends, held by Direction of the Yearly Meeting in Man- 
chester," 1895, p. 220. 

10 The same, p. 220. 

11 We do not hesitate to say that had Elias Hicks made this state- 
ment he would have suffered more at the hands of the Philadelphia 
Elders in T822 than is recorded in this book. 


was scriptural. The poor man, however, seems to have 
been, unconsciously, of course, between two stools. The 
orthodox Friends in the early part of the nineteenth century 
claimed that Elias was unsound because he did not cling- 
to the letter of the scripture, and his critic just quoted claims 
that he was unscientific although he used a scriptural term. 
Doctor Harris then concludes that "a little knowledge of 
evolution would have saved him (Hicks) all that false doc- 
trine." But how, in his time, could he have had any knowl- 
edge of evolution? A man can hardly be criticised for not 
possessing knowledge absolutely unavailable in his day and 
generation. We are then informed "that the world at any 
given instant, shows almost every stage of evolution of life, 
from the amoeba to the man, and from the cannibal to the 
saint. Shall we say that the love of God is equally mani- 
fested in all these?" 32 To use the Yankee answer by ask- 
ing another question, may we inquire, in. all seriousness, who 
is qualified to say with certainty that it is not so manifested? 
.Who has the authority, in the language of Whittier, to 

. . . "fix with metes and bounds 
The love and power of God?" 

Elias Hicks was given to using figures of speech and 
scriptural illustrations in a broad sense, and those who care- 
fully read his utterances will have no trouble in seeing in 
the quotation used by Doctor Harris simply an attempt to 
repudiate the attribute of favoritism on the part of the 
Heavenly Father toward any of his human children, and 
not to formulate a new philosophy of life, based on a theory 
of the universe about which he had never heard. 

The special labor of Elias Hicks, as we may now dis- 
passionately review it, was not as an expounder of doctrine. 

12 Report Manchester Conference, pp. 220-221. 


or the creator of a new dogmatism, but as a rationalizing, 
liberalizing influence in the field of religion. He was a 
pioneer of the "modern thinkers" of whom Doctor Harris 
speaks, and did much, amid misunderstanding and the 
traducing of men, to prepare the way for the broader 
intellectual and spiritual liberty we now enjoy. 

Recollections, Reminiscences and Testimonies. 

Many statements which have come down to us from 
the generation in which Elias Hicks lived, warrant the con- 
clusion that he was a natural orator. He possessed in a 
large degree what the late Bishop Simpson, of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, called ''heart power." We are able to 
give the personal impression of a venerable Friend * now 
living, who as a boy of eleven heard Elias preach twice. 

One of the sermons was delivered at Center, Del., on 
the 8th of Twelfth month, 1828, and the other the day be- 
fore at West Chester. This was on his last long religious 
visit', which took him to the then "far west," Ohio and 

Doctor Green says that the manner of Elias Hicks when 
speaking was very impressive. In person he is described 
by this Friend "as above medium height, rather slim, and 
with a carriage that would attract universal attention." He 
wore very plain clothes of a drab color. 

With no education in logic, and no disposition to in- 
dulge in forensic debate, he was, nevertheless a logician, 
and had he indulged in public disputation, would have made 
it interesting if not uncomfortable for his adversary. 

If he occasionally became involved, or got into verbal 
deep water, he always extricated himself, and made his 
position clear to his hearers. Doctor Green tells us that 
he had an uncle, not a member of meeting, but a good judg'e 

1 Dr. Jesse C. Green, of West Chester, Pa., now in his 93d year. 
Doctor Green almost retains the sprightliness of youth. 



of public speaking, who considered Elias Hicks the most 
logical preacher in the Society of Friends. On one oc- 
casion he heard Elias when he became very much involved 
, in his speaking, and as this person put it, he thought Elias 
had "wound himself up," but in a few minutes he. came 
down from his verbal flight, and made every point so clear 
that he was understood by every listener. 

Henry Byran Binns, Whitman's English biographer, 
gives the following estimate of the preaching of Elias 
Hicks : 

"With grave emphasis he pronounced his text : 'What 
is the chief end of man?' and with fiery and eloquent eyes, 
in a strong, vibrating, and still musical voice, he commenced 
to deliver his soul-awakening message. The fire of his 
fervor kindled as he spoke of the purpose of human life ; 
his broad-brim was dashed from his forehead on to one of 
the seats behind him. With the power of intense con- 
viction his whole presence became an overwhelming per- 
suasion, melting those who sat before him into tears and 
into one heart of wonder and humility under his high and 
simple words." 2 

We have another living witness who remembers Elias 
Hicks. This Friend says that she, with the members of 
her family, were constant attenders of the Jericho meeting. 
Speaking of Elias she remarks : "His commanding figure 
in the gallery is a bright picture I often see in my mind. 
His person was tall, straight and firm ; his manner dignified 
and noble and agreeable ; his voice clear, distinct and pene- 
trating*— altogether grand." 3 

We quote the following interesting incidents from the 
letter of Mary Willis : 

"One other bit I recall was a talk, or sermon, to the 

2 "A Life of Walt Whitman," Henry Byran Binns, p. 16. 

3 Extract of letter from Mary Willis, of Rochester, N. Y., dated 
Ninth month y, \g\o. This Friend is 92 years old. The letter received 
was entirely written by her, and is a model of legible penmanship and 
clear statement. 


young especially. He related that once he threw a stone 
and killed a bird, and was struck with consternation and 
regret at killing an innocent bird that might be a parent, 
and its young perish for the need of care. He appealed 
feelingly to the boys to refrain from giving needless pain. 

"He was guardian to my mother, sisters and brother, 
and they and their mother returned his loving care with 
warm affection, always, as did my father. 

"One of his characteristics was his kindness to the 
poor. Not far from his home (three miles, perhaps) was a 
small colony of colored people on poor land, who shared his 
bounty in cold, wintry weather, in his wagon loads of 
vegetables and wood, delivered by his own hand/' 

Probably one of the most appreciative, and in the main 
discriminative estimates of Elias Hicks, was made by Walt 
Whitman. The "notes (such as they are) founded on Elias 
Hicks," for such the author called them, were written in 
Camden, N. J., in the summer of 1888. Elias Hicks had 
•been dead nearly half a century. Whitman's impressions of 
the famous preacher were based on the memory of a 
boy ten years old, for that was Whitman's age when he 
heard Elias Hicks preach in Brooklyn. But personal mem- 
ory was supplemented by the statements of his parents, 
especially his mother, as the preaching of their old Long 
Island neighbor was undoubtedly a subject of frequent con- 
versation in the Whitman home. 

As to the manner of the preacher Whitman says : 
"While he goes on he falls into the nasality and sing-song 
tone sometimes heard in such meetings ; but in a moment 
or two, more as if recollecting himself, he breaks off, stops, 
and resumes in a natural tone. This occurs three or four 
times during the talk of the evening, till he concludes." 4 

The "unnamable something behind oratory," Whitman 
says Julias Hicks had, and it "emanated from his very heart 
to the heart of his audience, or carried with him, or probed 

4 "The Complete Works of Walt Whitman," Vol. 3, p. 259. 


into, and shook or aroused in them a sympathetic germ." 

There are a good many anecdotes regarding Elias Hicks 
current in Jericho, going to show some of his character- 
istics. It is stated that at one time he found that corn was 
being taken, evidently through the slats of the crib. One 
night he set a trap in the suspected place. Going to the 
barn in the morning he saw a man standing near where the 
trap was set. Elias passed on without seeming to notice the 
visitor. On returning to the house he stopped, spoke to the 
man, and released him from the trap. Elias would never 
tell who the man was. 

Illustrating his feeling regarding slavery, and his testi- 
mony against slave labor, the following statement is made : 
Before his death, and following the fatal paralytic stroke, 
he noticed that the quilt with which he was covered con- 
tained cotton. He had lost the power of speech, but he 
pushed the covering off, thus indicating his displeasure at 
the presence of an article of comfort which was the product 
of slave labor. 

There is an anecdote which illustrates the spirit of the 
man in a striking way. He is said to have had a neighbor 
with whom it did not seem possible to maintain cordial 
relations. One day Elias saw this neighbor with a big 
load of hay stalled in a marsh in one of his fields. Without 
a word of recognition Elias approached the man in the 
slough and hitching his own ox team to the load in front 
of the other team proceeded to pull the load out of the 
slough. It was all done in characteristic Quaker silence. 
The result was the establishment of cordial relations be- 
tween the two neighbors. 

In bestowing his benefactions, he was exceedingly sen- 
sitive, not wishing to be known in the matter, and especially 
not desiring to receive ordinary expressions of gratitude. 

8 The same, p. 264. 


His habitual custom was to take his load of wood or pro- 
visions, as the case might be, leave them at the door or in 
the yard of the family in need, and without announcement 
or comment silently steal away. 

During the Revolutionary War, Elias Hicks, in com- 
mon with other Friends, had property seized in lieu of mili- 
tary service or taxes. The value does not seem to have been 
great in any of the cases which were reported to the monthly 
meeting. We copy the following cases from the records : 

"On the 28th of Eighth month, 1777, came Justice Ma- 
loon, Robert Wilson, Daniel Wilson, and Daniel Weeks, 
sergeant under the above Captain (Youngs) and took from 
me a pair of silver buckles, worth 18 shillings ; two pair of 
stockings worth 15 shillings; and two handkerchiefs worth 
5 shillings, for my not going at the time of an alarm. — Elias 
Hicks, Jericho, 24th of Ninth month, 1777." 6 

The ''silver buckles" were either for the shoes or the 
knees. They were evidently more ornamental than useful, 
and how they comported with the owner's rather severe 
ideas of plainness is not for us to explain. The price put 
on these stockings may surprise some twentieth century 
reader, but it should be remembered that they were long to 
reach to the knees, and went with short breeches called in 
the vernacular of the time, "small clothes." 

"The 3d of Twelfth month, 1777, there came to my 
house George Weeks, sergeant under said Captain (Thorne) 
with a warrant, and demanded twelve shillings of me toward 
paying some men held to repair the forts near the 
west end of the island, and upon my refusing to pay, took 
from me a great coat, worth one pound and six shillings. — 
Elias Hicks." 7 

We continue the "sufferings," only remarking that the 

'Westbury Monthly Meeting: "A Record of Marriages, Deaths, 
Sufferings, etc.," p. 231. 

• The same, p. 234. 


"great coat" was an overcoat, the price at the equivalent of 
about six dollars and a half was not overdrawn. 

"The Sixth month, 1778, taken from Elias Hicks by 
order of Captain Daniel Youngs, for refusing to pay toward 
hiring of men to work on fortifications near Brooklyn 
Ferry, a pair of stockings worth 5 shillings ; razor case and 
two razors, worth 4 shillings." 8 

The next record of "suffering" is more than ordinarily 
interesting in that it shows that the seizures of property 
were very arbitrary, and it also gives the price of wheat on 
Long Island at that time. We quote : 

"About the middle of Tenth month, 1779, came George 
Weeks, by order of Captain Daniel Youngs, and I being 
from home demanded from my wife three pounds, for not 
assisting to build a fort at Brooklyn Ferry, for which he 
took two bao-s with three bushels of wheat, worth one 
pound, ten shillings." 9 

At this rate the market price of wheat was $2.50 per 
bushel. Possibly this was during the period of scarcity, 
referred to in the introduction. 

In 1794 Elias Hicks was influential in establishing in 
Jericho an organization, the scope of which was described in 
its preamble as follows : "We, the subscribers, do hereby 
associate and unite into a Society of Charity for the relief 
of poor among the black people, more especially for the 
education of their children." 10 

This society was almost revolutionary at the time of 
its inception, showing how far-seeing its projectors were. 
Its constitution declared that the society was rendered nec- 

8 The same, p. 242. 

9 The same, p. 254. 

10 This organization has been in continuous existence since its 
inception. Meets regularly every year, and distributes the proceeds of 
an invested fund in accordance with its original purpose. 


essary because of the injustice and lack of opportunity 
which the colored people suffered. The hope was expressed 
that the time would come when the black people would 
cease to be a submerged and oppressed race. It was pro- 
vided that in case the original need for the society should 
disappear, its benefits might be distributed in any helpful 
way. It may be interesting to note that at the meetings of 
the society the scarcity of colored children attending the 
school was mentioned with regret. So far as we know, the 
Jericho society was the first organized Friendly effort in 
negro education. Elias Hicks contributed $50 to the in- 
vested funds of the organization. 


Putting Off the Harness. 

During the series of visits, reported in the twenty- 
second chapter, Elias was ill a number of times, and was 
forced to rest from his labors. On the return trip from 
central and western New York, he visited for the last 
time the Hudson Valley meetings which he attended on 
his first religious journey in 1779. 

He arrived in New York the 8th of Eleventh month, 
attending the mid-week meeting at Hester Street that day. 
On First-day, the 15th, he attended the Rose Street meet- 
ing in the morning and Hester Street in the afternoon. 
Second-day evening, the 16th, a largely attended appointed 
meeting was held in Brooklyn. He then proceeded toward 
Jericho, arriving home on Fourth-day, the 18th of Eleventh 
month, 1829. 

The "Journal" is singularly silent regarding this 
Brooklyn meeting. Henry Byran Binns, on what he con- 
siders good authority, says, "Elias Hicks preached in the 
ball-room of Morrison's Hotel on Brooklyn Heights.'' To 
this statement he has added this bit of realistic description : 

"The scene was one he (Whitman) never forgot. The 
finely fitted and fashionable place of dancing, the officers 
and gay ladies in that mixed and crowded assembly, the 
lights, the colors and all the associations, both of the faces 
and of the place, presenting so singular contrast with the 
plain ancient Friends seated upon the platform, their broad- 
brims on their heads, their eyes closed ; with silence, 
long continued and becoming oppressive ; and most of 
all, with the tall, prophetic figure that rose at length to 
break it." 1 

'A Life of Walt Whitman," p. 16. 


Whitman's own reference to this meeting is still more 
striking. He says that he, a hoy of ten, was allowed to 
go to the Hicks meeting because he "had been behaving well 
that day." The ''principal dignitaries of the town" at- 
tended this meeting, while uniformed officers from the 
United States Navy Yard graced the gathering with their 
presence. The text was, "What is the chief end of man?" 
Whitman says : "I cannot follow the discourse, it presently 
becomes very fervid and in the midst of its fervor, he takes 
the broad-brim hat from his head and almost dashing it 
down with violence on the seat behind, continues with un- 
interrupted earnestness. Though the differences and dis- 
putes of the formal division of the Society of Friends were 
even then under way, he did not allude to them at all. A 
pleading, tender, nearly agonizing- conviction and mag- 
netic stream of natural eloquence, before which all minds 
and natures, all emotions, high or low, gentle or simple, 
yielded entirely without exception, was its cause, method 
and effect. Many, very many, were in tears." 2 

With the account of this journey of 1829 his narrative 
in the "Journal" closed. This paragraph formed a fitting 
benediction : 

"The foregoing meetings were times of favor, and as a 
seal from the hand of our gracious and never-failing helper, 
to the labor and travail which he has led me into, and 
enabled me to perform, for the promotion of this great and 
noble cause of truth and righteousness in the earth, as set 
forth in the foregoing account, and not suffering any 
weapon formed against me to prosper. 'This is the heri- 
tage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness 
is of me, saith the Lord.' For all these unmerited favors 
and mercies, in deep humiliation my soul doth magnify the 
Lord, and return thanksgiving and glory to his great and 
excellent name ; for his mercv endureth forever." 3 

2 "The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman." Issued under the 
editorial supervision of his Literary Executors, 1902, Vol. 3, p. 258. 

3 "Journal," p. 438. 


It should be remembered that Elias Hicks was then 
past his eighty-first year. He started on this last long 
religious visit, Sixth month 24th, and was therefore absent 
from home one week less than five months. He says him- 
self, in the last sentence of the "Journal" : "We traveled 
in this journey nearly fifteen hundred miles." These are 
words as impressive as they are simple. 

During this trip many families were visited from the 
Valley of the Genesee to the City of New York, where 
he tarried several days that he might see his friends in 
their homes. Whatever may have been their mind in the 
case, he doubtless felt that they would look upon his face 
no more. 

But Elias Hicks was not yet free from his religious 
concerns, for on First month 21, 1830, he asked for a 
minute, which was granted by Jericho Monthly Meeting, 
and is as follows : 

"Our beloved Friend, Elias Hicks, presented a con- 
cern to make a religious visit to the families of Friends 
and some Friendly people (as way may open), within the 
compass of this and Westbury Monthly Meeting, which 
claimed the solid attention of this meeting, was united 
with, and he left at liberty to pursue his prospect accord- 

This is the last minute ever asked for by Elias Hicks. 
But evidently the visits contemplated were never under- 
taken, for about that time he had a slight attack of paraly- 
sis, which affected his right side and arm. Still the next 
day he attended a meeting at Bethpage, and a little later 
quarterly and monthly meetings in New York. In both he 
performed ministerial service with his usual power and 
clearness. From a little brochure printed in 1829, we 
quote : 

"Tn the Monthly Meeting, he took a review of his labors 
in the city for many years ; and then expressed a belief 


that his religious services were brought nearly to a close. 
"After adverting to the great deviations that had taken 
place in the Society, from that plainness and simplicity 
into which our principles would lead us, he added, 'but if 
I should live two or three years longer, what a comfort it 
would be to me to see a reformation in these respects.' 
He then spoke in commemoration of the goodness of his 
Heavenly Father, and closed with these memorable words : 
'As certainly as we are engaged to glorify him in all our 
works, he will as certainly glorify us.' " 4 

But the time of putting off the harness was near at 
hand. On the 14th of Second month, 1830, he suffered 
a severe attack of paralysis which involved the entire right 
side, and deprived him of the use of his voice. When 
attacked he was alone in his room, but succeeded in getting 
to his family in an adjoining apartment. He declined all 
medical aid. In a condition of helplessness he lingered 
until Seventh-day the 27th, when he quietly passed away. 
Although he could only communicate by signs, conscious- 
ness remained until near the end. 

The funeral was held in the meeting house at Jericho, 
on Fourth-day, Third month 3d. Without a storm raged 
in strange contrast to the peace and quiet within. A large 
company braved the elements, to pay their respects to his 
worth, as a man and a minister, while a number of visiting 
ministering Friends had sympathetic service at the funeral, 
after which the burial took place in the ground adjoining 
the meeting-house, where he had long worshipped and 

The last act performed by Elias Hicks before the 
fatal stroke came, was to write a letter to his friend Hugh 
Judge, 5 of Barnesville, Ohio. Between the two men a 

4 "Life, Ministry, Last Sickness and Death of Elias Hicks," Phila- 
delphia, J. Richards, printer, 130 North Third Street. 

5 Hugh Judge was born about 1750 of Catholic parents. Joined 
Friends in his young manhood in Philadelphia. Removed to Ohio in 
1815. Died Twelfth month 21, 1834. He died while on a religious 


singular sympathy had long existed, and to Hugh, Elias 
unburdened his spirit in this last word to the world. In 
fact the letter fell from the hand of the writer, after the 
shock. It was all complete with signature and postscript. 
This letter really summarizes the doctrine, and states 
the practical religion which inspired the ministry and 
determined the life and conduct of this worthy Friend. It 
may be well, with its suggestive postscript, to close this 
record of the life and labors of Elias Hicks: 

"Jericho, Second month 14th, 1830. 

"Dear Hugh: Thy very acceptable letter of the 21st 
ultimo was duly received, and read with interest, tending 
to excite renewed sympathetic and mutual fellow-feeling; 
and brought to my remembrance the cheering salutation 
of the blessed Jesus, our holy and perfect pattern and ex- 
ample, to his disciples, viz: 'Be of good cheer, I have 
overcome the world.' By which he assured his disciples, 
that, by walking in the same pathway of self-denial and 
the cross, which he trod to blessedness, they might also 
overcome the world ; as nothing has ever enabled any 
rational being, in any age of the world, to overcome the 
spirit of the world, which lieth in wickedness, but the 
cross of Christ. 

''Some may query, what is the cross of Christ? To 
these I answer, it is the perfect law of God, written on 
the tablet of the heart, and in the heart of every rational 
creature, in such indelible characters that all the power of 
mortals cannot erase nor obliterate. Neither is there any 
power or means given or dispensed to the children of men, 
but this inward law and light, by which the true and saving 
knowledge of God can be obtained. And by this inward 
law and light, all will be either justified or condemned, and 
all be made to know God for themselves, and be left without 
excuse ; agreeably to the prophecy of Jeremiah, and the 
corroborating testimony of Jesus in his last counsel and 
command to his disciples, not to depart from Jerusalem 
until they should receive power from on high ; assuring 
them that they should receive power when they had re- 

visit to Friends in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Was buried at Kennett 
Square. Tic was a recorded minister for many years. 


ceived the pouring forth of the spirit upon them, which 
would qualify them to bear witness to him in Judea, 
Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth ; 
which was verified in a marvellous manner on the day of 
Pentecost, when thousands were converted to the Christian 
faith in one day. By which it is evident that nothing but 
this inward light and law, as it is heeded and obeyed, ever 
did, or ever can make a true and real Christian and child of 
God. And until the professors of Christianity agree to lay 
aside all their non-essentials in religion, and rally to this 
unchangeable foundation and standard of truth, wars and 
fightings, confusion and error will prevail, and the angelic 
song cannot be heard in our land, that of 'glory to God in 
the highest, and on earth peace and good will to men.' But 
when all nations are made willing to make this imvard law 
and light the rule and standard of all their faith and works, 
then we shall be brought to know and believe alike, that 
there is but one Lord, one faith, and but one baptism ; one 
God and Father, that is above all, through all, and in all ; 
and then will all those glorious and consoling prophecies, 
recorded in the scriptures of truth, be fulfilled. Isaiah 2:4. 
'He,' the Lord, 'shall judge among the nations, and rebuke 
many people ; and they shall beat their swords into plough- 
shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks ; nation shall 
not lift up sword against nation ; neither shall they learn 
war any more.' , Isaiah 11. 'The wolf also shall dw r ell with 
the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid ; and 
the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and 
a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear 
shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and 
the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child 
shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child put 
his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor 
destroy in all my holy mountain ; for the earth,' that is 
our earthly tabernacles, 'shall be full of the knowledge of 
the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' 

"These scripture testimonies give a true and correct 
description of the gospel state, and no rational being can be 
a real Christian and true disciple of Christ until he comes 
to know all these things verified in his own experience, as 
every man and woman has more or less of all those different 
animal propensities and passions in their nature ; and they 
predominate and bear rule, and are the source and fountain 
from whence all wars, and every evil work, proceed, and 
will continue as long as man remains in his first nature. 


and is governed by his animal spirit and propensities, which 
constitute the natural man, which Paul tells us, 'receiveth 
not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolish- 
ness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are 
spiritually discerned.' This corroborates the declaration 
of Jesus to Nicodemus, that 'except a man be born again he 
cannot see the kingdom of God ;' for 'that which is born 
of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is 

"Here Jesus assures us, beyond all doubt, that nothing 
but spirit can either see or enter into the kingdom of God ; 
and this confirms Paul's doctrine, that 'as many as are led 
by the spirit of God are the sons of God, and joint heirs 
with Christ.' And Jesus assures us, by his declaration to 
his diciples, John 14: 16-17; 'if ye love me keep my com- 
mandments ; and I will pray the Father and he shall give 
you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever, 
even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive ;' 
that is, men and women in their natural state, who have 
not given up to be led by this spirit of truth, that leads and 
guides into all truth ; 'because they see him not, neither do 
they know him, but ye know him, for he dwelleth with 
you, and shall be in you.' And as these give up to be 
wholly led and guided by him, the new birth is brought 
forth in them, and they witness the truth of another testi- 
mony of Paul's, even that of being 'created anew in Christ 
Jesus unto good works,' which God had foreordained that 
all his new-born children should walk in them, and thereby 
show forth, by their fruits and good works, that they were 
truly the children of God, born of his spirit, and taught 
of him ; agreeably to the testimony of the prophet, that 
'the children of the Lord are all taught of the Lord, and in 
righteousness they are established, and great is the peace 
of his children.' And nothing can make them afraid that 
man can do unto them ; as saith the prophet in his appeal 
to Jehovah: 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose 
mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.' There- 
fore let every one that loves the truth, for God is truth, 
'trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah there 
is everlasting strength.' 

"I write these things to thee, not as though thou didst 
not know them, but as a witness to thy experience, as 'two 
are better than one, and a threefold cord is not quickly 

"I will now draw to a close, with just adding, for thy 


encouragement, be of good cheer, for no new thing has 
happened to us; for it has ever been the lot of the righteous 
to pass through many trials and tribulations in their passage 
to that glorious, everlasting peace and happy abode, where 
all sorrow and sighing come to an end; the value of which 
is above all price, for when we have given all that we have, 
and can give, and suffered all that we can suffer, it is still 
infinitely below its real value. And if we are favored to 
gain an inheritance in that blissful and peaceful abode, 
'where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are 
at rest,' we must ascribe it all to the unmerited mercy and 
loving kindness of our Heavenly Father, who remains to 
be God over all, blessed forever ! 

"I will now conclude, and in the fulness of brotherly 
love to thee and thine, in which my family unite, subscribe 
thy affectionate friend, 

"To Hugh Judge : 

"Please present my love to all my friends as way 





The only lineal descendants of Elias Hicks are through 
his daughters, Abigail and Sarah. Abigail's husband, Valen- 
tine, was her cousin, and Sarah's husband, Robert Seaman, 
was a relative on the mother's side. 

Descendants of Valentine and Abigail Hicks. 


Grandchildren of Elias Hicks. — Caroline, married 
Dr. William Seaman; Phebe, married Adonijah Underbill (no 
children); Elias Hicks, married Sarah Hicks; Mary (un- 

great-grandchildren of elias hicks. 

Children of Dr. William Seaman and Caroline 
Hicks. — Valentine Hicks Seaman, married Rebecca Crom- 
well ; Sarah Seaman, married Henry B. Cromwell ; Samuel 
Hicks Seaman, married Hannah Husband. 

Cliildren of Elias Hicks and Sarah Hicks. — Mary, 
married Peter B. Franklin; Elias Hicks (unmarried), de- 
ceased; Caroline (unmarried), deceased. 

great-great-grandchildren of elias hicks. 

Children of Valentine H. and Rebecca C. Seaman. — 
William, married Addie W. Lobdell ; Caroline (infant); 1 
Henry B., 2 married Grace Dutton; Edwin H. (infant); 
Howard (unmarried), deceased; Valentine H. (unmarried); 
Emily C. (unmarried) ; Frederic C, married Ethel Lobdell. 

Children of Henry B. and Sarah Seaman Crom- 
well. — George 3 (unmarried); Henry B. (unmarried), de- 

'Note — Those marked "(infant)" died in infancy. Those with- 
out notation are under age and living. 

2 Henry B. Seaman is a graduate of Swarthmore College, class of 
1881, and received degree of C. E. in 1884. Was for three years Chief 
Engineer of the Puhlic Service Commission of Greater New York. 
Tic resigned this position Tenth month I, IQIO, because he could not 
approve estimates desired by the authorities. Since then these esti- 
mates have been held up as excessive. 

3 When Greater New York was incorporated George Cromwell was 



Children of Samuel H. and Hannah H. Seaman. — 
Joseph H. (unmarried) ; Caroline Hicks, married William A. 
Read; Mary T. (unmarried); Franklin (unmarried), de- 
ceased ; Sarah, married Lloyd Saltus. 

Children of Peter B. and Mary Hicks Franklin. — 
Anne M., married Walter A. Campbell. 


Children of William and Addie Seaman. — Howard 
L. (unmarried) ; Jessie M. (unmarried). 

Children of Henry B. and Grace D. Seaman. — Ayres 
C. ; Henry Bowman. 

Children of Frederic C. and Ethel L. Seaman. — 

Children of William A. and Caroline Seaman Read. 
— William Augustus ; Curtis Seaman ; Duncan Hicks ; R. Bar- 
tow ; Caroline Hicks; Bancroft (infant); Bayard W. ; Mary 
Elizabeth; Kenneth B. (infant). 

Children of Lloyd and Sarah Seaman Saltus. — 
Mary Seaman ; Ethel S. ; Seymour ; Lloyd. 

Children of Walter Allison and Anne M. Frank- 
lin Campbell. — Franklin Allison ; Mary Elizabeth. 

Descendants of Robert Seaman and Sarah, Daughter of 

Elias Hicks. 


Grandchildren of Elias Hicks. — Phebe (died ) ; Han- 
nah, married Matthew F. Robbins ; . Willet (died); Elizabeth, 
married Edward Willis ; Elias H., married Phebe Underhill ; 
Willet H., married Mary Wing; Mary H., married Isaac 


Children of Hannah and Matthew F. Robbins. — 
Caroline, married Sidney W 7 . Jackson ; Walter, married Sarah 
E. Hubbs. 

Children of Elizabeth and Edward Willis. — Sarah 
R. ; Mary S. (died); Caroline H. (died); Henrietta, married 
Stephen J. Underhill. 

Children of Elias H. and Phebe Seaman. — Mary 
(died); Samuel J., married Matilda W. Willets; Sarah 
(died) ; Anna; Robert, married Hannah W. Willets; William 

elected President of the Borough of Richmond. Although this bor- 
ough is normally Democratic in its politics, George Cromwell has been 
re-elected, and is the only president the borough has ever had. He 
and Henry B. Seaman are double first cousins. 


H., married Margaret J. Laurie; James H., married (i) Bessie 
Bridges; (2) Florence Haviland. 

Children of Willet H. and Mary Seaman. — Edward 
W. ; Willet H. ; Frank W. 

Children of Mary H. and Isaac Willis. — Henry, mar- 
ried June Barnes ; Robert S. 


Son of Caroline and Sidney W. Jackson. — M. Frank- 
lin, married Annie T. Jackson. 

Children of Walter and Sarah E. Jackson.— Caro- 
line J., married William G. Underbill ; Annie H., married 
Thomas Rushmore ; Cora A., married John Marshall. 

Children of Henrietta and Stephen J. Underhill. — 
Edward W., married Emeline Kissam ; Hannah W. ; Henry T., 
married Dorothy Vernon ; Arthur. 

Children of Samuel J. and Matilda W. Seaman. — 
Mary W., married Leon A. Rushmore ; Samuel J., married 
Ethelena T. Bogart ; Anna Louise ; Frederick W . ; Lewis V. 

Daughter of Robert and Hannah W. Seaman. — 
Phebe U. 

Children of William H. and Margaret L. Seaman. — 
William Laurie; Faith Frances (died). 

Children of James H. and Bessie B. Seaman. — George 
B. ; Elias Haviland. 

Children of James H. and Florence H. Seaman. — 
Bertha Lucina ; Willard H. ; Helen U. 

great-great-great-grandchildren of elias hicks. 

Daughter of M. Franklin and Annie T. Jackson. — 
Marion F. 

Children of Caroline J. and William G. Underhill. 
— Mildred ; Irene ; Margaret. 

Children of Annie H. and Thomas Rushmore. — Lil- 
lian A. ; Elizabeth A. 

Son of Cora A. and John Marshall. — John W. 

Daughter of Henry T. and Dorothy Underhill. — ■ 

Son of Mary S. and Leon A. Rushmore. — Leon A. 



Letter to Dr. Atlee. 4 

Copy of a letter from Elias Hicks to Dr. Edwin A. Atlee, 
of Philadelphia: 

"Jericho, Ninth mo. 2j, 1824. 
"My Dear Friend: 

"Thy very acceptable letter of the 29th ultimo came duly 
to hand, and I have taken my pen not only to acknowledge thy 
kindness, but also to state to thee the unfriendly and unchris- 
tian conduct of Anna Braithwaite toward me, not only as 
relates to that extract, but in her conversation among Friends 
and others, traducing my religious character, and saying I 
held and promulgated infidel doctrines, etc. — endeavoring to 
prejudice the minds of Friends against me, behind my back, 
in open violation of gospel order. She came to my house, as 
stated in the extract thou sent me, after the quarterly meeting 
of ministers and elders at Westbury in First month last. At 
that meeting was the first time I saw her, which was about 
five or six months after her arrival in New \ r ork. And as I 
had heard her well spoken of as a minister, I could have had 
no preconceived opinion of her but what was favorable, there- 
fore, I treated her with all the cordiality and friendship I was 
capable of. She also, from all outward appearance, mani- 
fested the same ; and, after dinner,- she requested, in company 
with A. S., a female Friend that was with her, a private 
opportunity with me. So we withdrew into another room, 
where we continued in conversation for nearly two hours. 
And being innocent and ignorant of any cause that I had 
given, on my part, for the necessity of such an opportunity, I 
concluded she had nothing more in view than to have a little 
fr^e conversation on the state of those select meetings. 

"But, to my surprise, the first subject she spoke upon, 
was to call in question a sentiment I had expressed in the 
meeting aforesaid, which appeared to me to be so plain and 
simple, that I concluded the weakest member in our society, 
endued with a rational understanding, w T ould have seen the 


propriety of. It was a remark I made on the absence of three 
out of four of the representatives appointed by one of the 
preparative meetings to attend the quarterly meeting. And I 
having long been of the opinion, that much weakness had been 
introduced into our society by injudicious appointments, I 

4 See page 164 of this book. 


have often been concerned to caution Friends on that account. 
The remark I made was this : that I thought there was some- 
thing wrong in the present instance — for, as we profess to 
believe in the guidance of the Spirit of Truth as an unerring 
Spirit, was it not reasonable to expect, especially in a meeting 
of ministers and elders, that if each Friend attended to their 
proper gifts, as this Spirit is endued with prescience, that it 
would be much more likely, under its divine influence, we 
should be led to appoint such as would attend on particular 
and necessary occasion, than to appoint those who would not 
attend ? 

"This idea, she contended, was not correct ; and the senti- 
ments she expressed on this subject really affected me. To 
think that any, professing to be a gospel minister, called from 
a distant land to teach others, and to be so deficient in knowl- 
edge and experience, in so plain a case, that I could not well 
help saying to her, that her views were the result of a want 
of religious experience, and that I believed if she improved 
her talent faithfully, she would be brought to see better, and 
acknowledge the correctness of my position. But she replied, 
she did not want to see better. This manifestation of her self- 
importance, lowered her character, as a gospel minister, very 
much in my view ; and her subsequent conduct, while she was 
with us, abundantly corroborated and confirmed this view con- 
cerning her. As to her charge against me, in regard to the 
Scriptures, it is generally incorrect, and some of it false. And 
it is very extraordinary, that she should manifest so much 
seeming friendship for me, when present, and in my absence 
speak against me in such an unbecoming manner. Indeed, 
her conduct toward me, often reminds me of the treachery of 
Judas, when he betrayed his Master with a kiss. And, instead 
of acting toward me as a friend or a Christian, she had been 
watching for evil. 

"As to my asserting that I believe the Scriptures were 
held in too high estimation by the professors of Christianity 
in general, I readily admit, as I have asserted it in my public 
communications for more than forty years, but, generally, in 
opposition to those that held them to be the only rule of faith 
and practice ; and my views have always been in accordance 
with our primitive Friends on this point. And at divers times, 
when in conversation with hireling teachers, (and at other 
times) I have given it as my opinion, that so long as they 
held the Scriptures to be the only rule of faith and practice, 
and by which they justify wars, hireling ministry, predestina- 
tion, and what they call the ordinances, viz : water baptism 


and the passover supper, mere relics of the Jewish law, so long 
the Scriptures did such, more harm than good ; but that the 
fault was not in the Scriptures, but in their literal and carnal 
interpretation of them — and that would always be the case 
until they came to the Spirit that gave them forth, as no other 
power could break the seal, and open them rightly to us. 
Hence I have observed, in my public communications, and in 
conversation with the members of different denominations, and 
others, who held that the Scriptures are the primary and only 
rule of faith and practice — that, according to the true analogy 
of reasoning, 'that for which a thing is such — the thing itself is 
more such' — as the Spirit was before the Scriptures, and above 
them, and without the Spirit they could not have been written 
or known. And with this simple but conclusive argument, I 
have convinced divers of the soundness of our doctrine in this 
respect — that not the Scriptures but the Spirit of Truth, which 
Jesus commanded his disciples to wait for, as their only rule, 
they would teach them all things, and guide them into all truth, 
is the primary and only rule of faith and practice, and is the 
only means by which our salvation is effected. 

"The extract contains so much inconsistency, and is so 
incorrect, that, as I proceed, it appears less and less worthy 
of a reply, and yet it does contain some truth. I admit that 
I did assert, and have long done it, that we cannot believe 
what we do not understand. This the Scripture affirms, Deut. 
xxix. 29 — 'The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, 
but the things that are revealed belong unto us and our chil- 
dren forever, that we may do all the words of this law' — and 
all that is not revealed, is to us the same as a nonentity, and 
will forever remain so. until it is revealed ; and that which is 
revealed, enables us, agreeably to the apostle's exhortation, to 
give a reason of the hope that is in us, to honest inquirers. I 
also assert, that we ought to bring all doctrines, whether written 
or verbal, to the test of the Spirit of Truth in our minds, as 
the only sure director relative to the things of God ; otherwise, 
why is a manifestation of the Spirit given to every man if it 
it not to profit by; and, if the Scriptures are about trie Spirit, 
and a more certain test of doctrines, why is the Spirit given, 
seeing it is useless? But this doctrine, that the Scriptures are 
the only rule of faith and practice, is a fundamental error, and 
is manifested to be so by the Scriptures themselves, and also 
by our primitive Friends' writings. It would seem that Anna 
Braithwaite has strained every nerve in exaggerating my 
words, for I have not said more than R. Barclay, and many 
others of our predecessors, respecting the errors in our English 



translation of the Bible. Hence it appears, that she was deter- 
mined to criminate me at all events, by striving to make me 
erroneous for saying that the Gospel handed to us, was no 
more authentic than many other writings. Surely a person that 
did not assent to this, must be ignorant indeed. 

"Are not the writings • of our primitive Friends as 
authentic as any book or writing, and especially such as were 
written so many centuries ago, the originals of which have 
been lost many hundred years ? And are not the histories of 
passing events, written by candid men of the present age, 
which thousands know to be true, as authentic as the Bible?. 

"Her assertions, that I asked if she could be so ignorant 
as to believe in the account of the creation of the world, and 
that I had been convinced for the last ten years, that it was 
only an allegory, and that it had been especially revealed to 
me at a meeting in Liberty Street about that time ; that I asked 
her if she thought Adam was any worse after he had eaten 
the forbidden fruit than before, and that I said I did 
not believe he was ; and also her asserting, that I said that 
Jesus Christ was no more than a prophet, and that I further 
said, that if she would' read the Scriptures attentively she 
would believe that Jesus was the son of Joseph : these asser- 
tions of hers, are all false and unfounded, and must be the re- 
sult of a feigned or forced construction of something I might 
have said, to suit her own purpose. For those who do not 
wish to be satisfied with fair reasoning, there is no end to their 
cavilling and misrepresentation. As to what she relates as it 
regards the manner of our coming into the world in our in- 
fant state, it is my belief, that we come into the world in the 
same state of innocence, and endowed with the same propen- 
sities and desires that our first parents were, in their primeval 
state ; and this Jesus Christ has established, and must be con- 
clusive in the minds of all true believers; when he took a little 
child in his arms and blessed him, and said to them around 
him that except they were converted, and become as that 
little child, they should in no case enter into the kingdom of 
heaven. Of course, all the desires and propensities of that 
little child, and of our first parents in their primeval state, 
must have been good, as they were all the endowments of their 
Creator, and given to them for a special purpose. But it is 
the improper and unlawful indulgence of them that is evil. 

"I readily acknowledge, I have not been able to see or 
understand, how the cruel persecution and crucifixion of Jesus 
Christ, by the wicked and hard-hearted jews, should expiate 
mv sins; and never have known anything to effect that for 


me, but the grace of God, that taught me, agreeably to the 
apostle's doctrine, to den}' all ungodliness and the world's 
lusts, and do live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present 
world ; and as I have faithfully abode under its teachings, in 
full obedience thereto, I have been brought to believe that my 
sins were forgiven, and I permitted to sit under the Lord's 
teaching, as saith the prophet : 'that the children of the Lord 
are all taught of the Lord, and in righteousness they are estab- 
lished, and great is the peace of his children.' And so long as 
I feel this peace, there is nothing in this w r orld that makes me 
afraid, as it respects my eternal condition. But if any of my 
friends have received and known benefit from any outward 
sacrifice, I do not envy them their privilege. But, surely, they 
would not be willing that I should acknowdedge as a truth, that 
which I have no kind of knowdedge of. I am willing to admit, 
that Divine Mercy is no doubt watching over his rational 
creation for their good, and may secretly work at times for 
their preservation ; but, if, in his infinite wisdom and good- 
ness, he sees meet to hide it from us, as most consistent with 
his wisdom and our good, let us have a care that we do not. 
in the pride of our hearts, undertake to prey into his secret 
counsels, lest we offend ; but be content with what he is pleased 
to reveal to us, let it be more or less, and, especially, if he is 
pleased to speak peace to our minds. And when he graciously 
condescends to do this, we shall know it to be a peace that 
the world cannot give, with all its enjoyments, neither take 
away, with all its frowns. 

"I shall now draw to a close, and, with the salutation of 
gospel love, I subscribe myself thy affectionate and sympa- 
thizing friend and brother. 

"Elias Hicks/' 
To Edwin A. Atlee. 


The Portraits. 

The cut facing page 121 is a photograph from the painting 
by Henry Ketcham. This was sketched by the artist who was 
in the public gallery of the meeting house at different times 
when Elias Hicks was preaching, his presence being unknown 
to the preacher. It was originally a full-length portrait, but 
many years ago was injured by fire, when it was cut down 
to bust size. For some time it was in the home of the late 
Elwood Walter, of Englewood, X. J. For many years it has 



been in the family of Henry B. Seaman. It is believed that 
the pictures made under direction of the late Edward Hopper, 
had this portrait as their original. The engravings i 1 the 
"History of Long Island" and in the "Complete Works of 
Walt Whitman," are probably based on this portrait. They 
have passed through such a "sleeking-up" process, however, 
as to lack the individuality of the more crude production. 

The frontispiece is from a photograph of the bust of 
Elias Hicks, by the sculptor, William Ordway Partridge, and 
was made for Henry B. Seaman. In making the bust the artist 
used the oil painting referred to above, and all of the other 
pictures of Elias Hicks in existence, including the full-length 
silhouette. He also had the bust, said to have been taken 
from the death mask, and from them all attempted to con- 
struct what may be termed the "ideal" Elias Hicks. 

The Death Mask. 

Much has been written about the death mask of Elias 
Hicks, from which the bust in Swarthmore College, in the 
New York Friend's Library and other places was made. 
That such a mask was taken admits of no doubt, and the 
only clear statement regarding the matter is given below. 
The bust is in the possession of Harry B. Seaman. The 
issue of "Niles Register" referred to was published only 
six weeks after the death of Elias Hicks. 

"We understand an Italian artist of this city, has secretly 
disinterred the body of Elias Hicks, the celebrated Quaker 
preacher, and moulded his bust. It seems he had applied to the 
friends of the deceased to take a moulding previous to his in- 
terment, but was refused. Suspicion being excited that the 
grave had been disturbed, it was examined, and some bits of 
plaster were found adhering to the hair of the deceased. The 
enthusiastic Italian was visited, and owned that, as he had been 
denied the privilege of taking a bust before interment, he had 
adopted the only method of obtaining one. We have heard 
nothing more on the subject, except that the bust is a most 
excellent likeness." x 

1 Quoted from New York Constellation, in "Niles Weekly 
Register," April 10, 1830, p. 124. 



A Bit of Advertising. 

As showing the way the presence of ministering Friends 
was advertised in Philadelphia eighty-eight years ago, we re- 
produce the following, which appeared in some of the papers x 
of that period : 

"Arrived in this city on the 7th inst., Elias Hicks, a dis- 
tinguished minister of the gospel, the Benign Doctrines of 
which he is a faithful embassador, has for many years past 
practically endeavored (both by precept and example) to pro- 
mulgate in its primeval beauty and simplicity, without money 
and without price. Those who are Friends to plain truth 
and evangelical preaching, that have heretofore been edified 
and comforted under his ministry, will doubtless be pleased 
to learn of his arrival, and avail themselves of the present 
opportunity of attending such appointments as he, under the 
direction of Divine influence, may see proper to make in his 
tour of Gospel Love, to the inhabitants of this city and its 

"A Citizen.' 

Philadelphia, December 9, 1822. 


The author of this book acknowledges his indebtedness 
in its preparation to the following, who either in furnishing 
data, or otherwise assisted in its preparation : William and 
Margaret L. Seaman, and Samuel J. Seaman, Glen Cove, 
N. Y. ; Robert and Anna Seaman, Jericho, N. Y. ; Henry B. 
Seaman, Brooklyn, N. Y. ; Dr. Jesse H. Green, West Chester, 
Pa. ; Mary Willis, Rochester, N. Y. : Ella K. Barnard and 
Joseph J. Janney, Baltimore, Md. ; Henry B. Hallock, Brook- 
lyn, N. Y. : John Comly, Philadelphia, Pa. 

1 The Cabinet, or Works of Darkness Brought to Light. Philadel 
phia. 1824, p. ZZ- 



Sources of Information. 

in making this book the following are tile main sources 
of information that have been consulted; which are referred 
to those who may wish to go into the details of the matter 
involved : 

Journal of Elias Hicks, New York, 1832. Published by 
Isaac T. Hopper. 

The Luncly Family. By William Clinton Armstrong. 
New Brunswick, 1902. 

The Quaker ; A Series of Sermons by Members of the 
Society of Friends, Philadelphia, 1827-28. Published by Mar- 
cus T. C. Gould. 

A Series of Extemporaneous Discourses, etc., by Elias 
Hicks. Philadelphia, 1825. Published by Joseph and Edward 

Letters of Elias Hicks. Philadelphia, 1861. Published 
by T. Ell wood Chapman. 

An Account of the Life and Travels of Samuel Bownas. 
Edited by J. Besse. London, 1756. 

Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. II. Buffalo, N. Y., 1885. 
The Christian Literature Publishing Company. 

The Quakers. By Frederick Storrs Turner. London, 
1889. Swan, Sounenschein & Co. 

A Review of the General and Particular Causes Which 
Have Produced the Late Disorders in the Yearly Meeting of 
Friends Held in Philadelphia. By James Cockburn. Philadel- 
phia, 1829. 

Foster's Report. Two volumes. By Jeremiah J. Foster, 
Master and Examiner in Chancery. Philadelphia, 1831. 

Rules of Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of Friends 
Held in Philadelphia. 1806. 

The Friend ; or Advocate of Truth. Philadelphia, 1828. 
Published by M. T. C. Gould. 

An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, etc. By 
Robert Barclay. Philadelphia, 1877. Friends' Book Store. 

Memoirs of Anna Braithwaite. By her son, J. Bevan 
Braithwaite. London, 1905. Headley Brothers. 

The Christian Inquirer. New York, 1826. Published by 
B. Hates. 

J. Bevan Braithwaite: A Friend of the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury. By His Children. London, 1909. Hodder & Stough- 


Sermons by Elias Hicks, Ann Jones and Others of the 
Society of Friends, etc. Brooklyn, 1828. 

Journal of Thomas Shillitoe. London, 1839. Harvey & 

Memorials of John Bartram and Humphrey Marshall. 
By William Darlington, Philadelphia, 1849. 

The American Conflict. By Horace Greeley. Hartford, 
Conn., 1864. O. D. Case & Co. 

Memoirs of Life and Religious Labors of Edward Hicks. 
Philadelphia, 1851. 

Life of Walt Whitman. Henry Bryan Binns. 

Complete Works of Walt Whitman. 1902. 

History of Long Island. 

Proceedings of the Manchester Conference. 1895. 

Stephen Grellett. By William Guest. Philadelphia, 1833. 
Henry Longstreth. 


Abolitionists, Garrisonian, 87 

After the "Separation/' 195 
Aldrich, Royal, reference to, 69 
Ancestry and Boyhood, 17 
Appendix, 226 
Apostolic Christian, an, 7 
Apprenticeship of E. H., 22 
Atlee, Dr. Edwin A., E. H.'s let- 
ter to, Appendix B ; reference to, 

Baltimore Y. M., E. H. attends, 44 
Baptists, Southern, reference to, 

Barclay's Apology, quotation 

from, 143-144 
Bartram, John, reference to, 190; 
sketch of, 190; his supposed 
deism, 190-191 
Beacon Controversy, the, 169-170 
Berry, Mary, at Easton, Md., t>7 
Binns, Henry Byran, describes E. 

H.'s preaching, 212-218 
Black people commended, 37 
Bownas, Samuel (note), 18 
Braithwaite, Anna, referred to, 
49; sketch of (note), 161; 
writes to E. H., 162; writes to 
Friend in Flushing, 163 ; writes 
to E. H. from England, 165 ; 
writes to E. H. from Kipp's 
Bay, t68: advised by Jericho 
ministers and elders, 169; late 
reference to "Hicksism," 170 
Braithwaite, Isaac, reference to 
(note), t6i : reference to, 179- 

Braithwaite, J. Bevan (note), 164- 

Camp meetings, E. H. condemns, 

Carpenter. E. H. apprenticed as. 

Christ, Divinity of. 115, 116, T56 


Christ as saviour, 156-157 
Clarkson, Thomas, receives Hicks' 

pamphlet, 90 
Clement of Alexandria, reference 

to, 106 
Conflict, The American (note), 94 
Court Crier, E. H. imitates, 62 
Cotton gin, invention of, 94 
Cropper, James (note), 89; letter 

from E. H., 90 

Dancing, opinion of, 22 

Discipline, E. H.'s regard for, 29 

Disownment and doctrine, 188 

Disownments for doctrine, 190: 
E. H. on, 191-193; during 
slavery agitation. 87-88 

Division, before the, 121 

Dutchess County, separation in, 

Doctrine, statement of by Phila- 
delphia Meeting for Sufferings, 

Early labors in ministry, 32 

Easton, Md., letter from, 37 

Election, E. H. on, no 

Evans, Jonathan, opposes E. H.. 
127; clerk Meeting for Suffer- 
ings, 139 ; expounds orthodox 
doctrine, 153 

Exeter, Pa., E. H. writes letter 
from, 38 

Family, the Hicks. 71: E. H.'s 

statement about, 71 ; children in. 


First Trouble in Philadelphia. 126 

Fisher, Samuel R... entertains F. 

H.. 44 

Flushing, O., E. H. meets opposi- 
tion in, 50; also (note). 50 
Free Masonry, E. H. on, T03 
Friends, Progressive (note). 88 



Garrison, William Lloyd, on So- 
ciety of Friends, 87 

Gibbons, James S., is disowned, 87 

Goldsmith, Oliver, extract from 
"Deserted Village," 68 

Gould, Marcus T. C., publisher 
"The Quaker/' 152-153 

Grellett, Stephen, sketch of 
(note), 123; questions ortho- 
doxy of E. H., 123 

Greeley, Horace, quotation from, 

Green, Dr. Jesse C., reference to, 

211 ; recollections of E. H., 

Green Street Monthly Meeting, 

center of difficulty, 147-149 
Gurney, Joseph John, reference 

to, 165 

Harris, Dr. J. Rendell, criticises 
E. H., 208 

Heaven and hell, E. H. on, 110- 

Hicks. Abigail, daughter of E. H., 
72 ; picture of, facing. 97 

Hicks, David, son of E. H., 72 

Hicks. Edward, sketch of (note), 
202; estimate of E. H., 203 

Hicks, Elias, apostolic Christian, 
7 ; his type of Quakerism, 7 ; 
reading Scriptures, 12: refer- 
ence to old folks, 13; objects to 
flower bed, 13 ; sells wheat at 
low price to neighbors, 14; 
favors disciplinary equality for 
women, 15; birth, 18; reference 
to parents, 11, 19; death of 
mother. 20: reference to sing- 
ing and running horses, 20; ap- 
prenticed to learn carpenter's 
trade, 22 ; on dancing, 22-23 '■> 
on hunting, 23-24; reference to 
possibly lost condition, 23 ; 
statement regarding his mar- 
riage, 24; marriage application 
in monthly meeting, 25 ; takes 
up residence in Jericho, 26 : a 
surveyor, -2j : appears in the 
ministry. 28-29: regard for dis- 
cipline, 29 ; recorded a minister, 
30 : passes through military lines 
in Revolutionary War, 31 ; 
makes first long religious jour- 
ney, 32: visits Nine Partners. 

Vermont, etc., 34; visits New 
England, 35 ; visits Philadelphia 
and Baltimore Yearly Meetings. 
36 ; first sermon against slavery. 
36 ; letter from Easton, Md., 37 \ 
visit to states south of Xew 
York, 38; visit to Canada, 40; 
visit Xew England meetings, 
42; goes to Ohio, 43; at Balti- 
more Y. M., 44; starts on last 
long religious journey, 46; 
meets opposition at Westland, 
47 ; experience at Brownsville, 
47; at Mt. Pleasant, O., 48-49; 
attends Ohio Y. M., 49-50: dis- 
turbance at Flushing, O., 50; 
attends Indiana Y. M., 52; 
trouble at West Grove, Pa., S3 : 
extent of his travels, 56; ideas 
about the ministry, 57 ; speaks 
of his own ministry, 58 ; against 
premeditation, 59; measuring 
the ministry, 60-61 : imitates 
court crier, 62 ; advice touching 
meetings and ministry, 63 : is 
frequently indisposed, 64; his 
Jericho property, 69: statement 
about his wife, 71 ; as a father, 
72 ; letters to his wife, 76-83 ; on 
the slavery question, 84-94 ; 
various opinions, 95: on the joys 
of labor, 97 : ideas regarding 
railroads, 98 ; ideas about 
Thanksgiving, 102 : opposes 
Freemasonry. 103 ; some points 
of doctrine, 107-120; has trouble 
in Philadelphia, 126-128; writes 
letter to Philadelphia elders, 
132: in the time of unsettlement, 
139-15T ; three sermons re- 
viewed. 152-160; is visited by 
Anna Braithwaite, 162: writes 
to Dr. Atlee, 164; writes to 
Anna Braithwaite, 169; in 
Dutchess County with Ann 
Jones, 171-176: contact with T. 
Shillitoe, 184-185: at Mt. Pleas- 
ant and Short Creek, O.. 186- 
T87 : disowned by Westbury and 
Jericho Monthly Meeting, 189; 
ideas about disownment. 193- 
194: at Rose and Hester 
Streets. New York, 195 : re- 
marks on reception by Friends. 
T96: assumes the humorous role, 
T96: received by Friends after 



long western trip, 197 ; death of 
wife, 198; visits Dutchess 
County, 199 ; preaches in state- 
house, Albany, 200 ; letter to 
Johnson Legg, 201 ; his dying- 
testimony, 204; critics of, 202- 
210; a logical thinker, 211; his 
kindness to poor, 213-214; deals 
with corn thief, 214; his dying- 
testimony against slavery, 214; 
sufferings for peace principles, 
215-216; helps organize charity 
society, 216-217; putting off har- 
ness, 218-225 ; his last traveling 
minute, 220; attends his last 
monthly meeting, 220-221 ; suf- 
fers stroke of paralysis, 221 ; 
his death, 221 ; his funeral, 221 ; 
last letter to Hugh Judge, 222 
Hicks, Elias, Jr., son of E. H., 73 
Hicks, Elizabeth, daughter of E. 
H., 72; picture of, facing, 97... 
Hicks, Sir Ellis, reference to, 17 
Hicks Family, the, 71 
Hicks, Jonathan, son of E. H., 73 
Hicks, John, son of E. H., 72 
Hicks, Jemima, wife of E. H., 
estimate of, 74-75 ; letters to, 
77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82; death of, 
T98; funeral of, 198-199 
Hicks, Martha, daughter O'f E. H., 

72; picture of, facing, 97 
Hicks, Sarah, daughter of E. H., 

Hicks, Judge Thomas, great- 
grandfather E. H., 18; be- 
friends S. Bownas, 18 
Hicksville, reference to, 66 
Hicks, Valentine, son-in-law of E. 
H., reference to, 66 : President 
I-ong Island Railroad, 100; pic- 
ture of, facing, 97 

Hodgson, W., reference to E. H.'s 

sentiments, 206 
Home at Jericho, the, 66 
Hopper, Isaac T., reference to 

disownment of, 87 
Humor, E. II. indulges in, 196 

Immortality. E. H. on, T12-TT4 
Indiana Y. M., E. H. attends. 51 
Inquirer, The Christian (note), 

Introduction, it 

Jackson, Halliday, • arrested at 

Ohio Y. M., 49; statement about 

(note), 49 
Jericho, home at, 66 
Jericho Monthly Meeting, mem- 
bers at. time of "separation," 

188; E. H. advises, 200 
Johnson, Oliver, on abolition 

claims of Friends, 88 
Jones, Ann, in Dutchess County, 

171 ; extracts from sermons, 

Jones, George, reference to, 174- 

Judge, Hugh, sketch of (note), 

221-222; reference to, 221; E. 

H.'s letter to, 222-225 
Jesus, death and resurrection of. 


Keith, George, sketch of (note). 

Kennett Monthly Meeting, ex- 
tract from minutes, 88 

Kingston, Canada, E. H. writes 
letter from, 40 

Labor, ideas about, 96-98 
Lamb, blood of, 155 
Lewis, Evan (note), 89 
Liberator, the, quotations from. 

Lloyd, Isaac, statement by, 154 
Lost condition, reference to, 23 
Lundy, Benjamin, sketch of 

(note), 86 

Manchester Conference, proceed- 
ings of (note), 208; quotation 
from, 208 

Marriage of E. H.. 25 

Marriot, Charles, his disownment. 

8 7. 

Merritt, Jesse, travels with E. H.. 
54 ; is homesick, 54 

Meeting ministers and elders, a 
visiting committee, ^6 

Meeting for Sufferings, to con- 
trol membership, T50 

Mifflin, Daniel, emancipates 
slaves, 84 

Mifflin, Warner, emancipates 
slaves, 84; presents memorial to 
Congress, 84; reference to, 83 

Mind, effect on body, 100 

Minister. E. H. recorded as. 30 


-'4 1 

Ministry, E. H.'s first appearance 
in, 28 ; ideas about. 57; speaks 
of his own, 58; measuring the. 

Minute, E. H.'s last traveling, 220 

Miraculous conception, the, 1 t_|, 

Monthly Meeting,' E. H. attends 
his last, 220-221 

Mott, Adam (note), 35 

Mott, James, Sr., reference to 
(note), 35; writes E. H., 123; 
criticises E. H.. 205 

Mott, James and Lucretia, refer- 
ence to, 35 

Mosheim's Ecclesiatical History, 
reference to, 105 

Mt. Pleasant, O., disturbance in 
meeting at, 48-49 ; Yearly Meet- 
ing 1828 at, 49-50; E. H. and 
T. Shillitoe at, 186 

\ T ew England Y. M. visited by E. 
H. s 35 ; attended by English 
Friends, 183 

Xew Tersey. Friends in, approve 
E. H., 196 

Xew York Y. M.. attended by 
English Friends, 183 ; by T. 
Shillitoe, 1828, 183 ; extract 
from minute of, 183; i. Shilli- 
toe objects to visitors in, 183 

.Vine Partners, sermon at, 123 

Ohio Y. M. attended by E. H., 48- 

49, 186 
Osborn, Charles, prays and 

preaches two hours, 50 

Paine, Thomas, referred to, 117; 
E. H. on, 117; E. H. compared 
with. 167 

Parker's, Hicks's sermons, ex- 
tracts from, 92-93 

Philadelphia Elders write E. H., 
1 30- 13 1 

Philadelphia Meeting for Suffer- 
ings starts charge of E. H.'s 
unsoundness, 129; issues state- 
ment of doctrine, 139-143 

Pine Street Monthly Meeting 
offers affront to E. H., 126-127 

Property, E. H.'s views about, 95- 

Quakerism, type of. 7 

Quaker," "The, extracts from, 91, 

' 96 

Quaker creed, a sort of, 139, 143 

Railroad, E. H. opposes, 99; the 
Long Island, 99 ; Baltimore and 
Ohio, 98-99; the first (note), 99 

Recollections, reminiscences and 
testimonies, 211-217 

Religious journeys in 1828, 46 

Routh, Martha, writes letter to E. 
H, 90 

Roy, Rammouhan, sketch of 
(note), 206; writes E. H., 207 

Salvation, universal, 108-109 

Salvation, vital, 159 

Satan, 116 

Schools, public, ideas about, 101 

Seaman, Gideon, reference to, 50, 

Seaman, Jemima, reference to. 
24 ; marries E. H., 25 

Seaman. Captain John, moves to 
Long Island, 26 

Seaman, Jonathan, father of 
Jemima. 26 

Seaman, Lazarus, Puritan divine, 

Sermons, length of, 65 

Shillitoe, Thomas, reference to. 
47; sketch of (note), 181; de- 
clines to visit E. H., 182; refers 
to his traveling- minute, 183-184; 
goes west. 184 ; converses with 
ferry keeper, 186; at Mt. Pleas- 
ant, 186 

Sin and transgression, 107 

Singing, reference to, 20 

Slavery, first sermon against, 36 

Slavery question, the, 84-94 ; 
Friends on, 85-94; pamphlet by 
E. H. on, 93 

Southern Q. M. members of, on 
E. H.. 133-136 

Stabler, Deborah and James, 
sketch of (note), 98 

Tallock, William, refers to E. H.'s 

assertions, 206 
Thanksgiving, E. H. on, 102-103 
Thomas, Philip E., reference to. 

98; sketch of (note), 98 
Three sermons reviewed, 152 




Time of unsettlement, 139 
Titus, Daniel, traveling com- 
panion of E. H., 40 
Turner, Frederick Storrs, refer- 
ence to, 122 ; on E. H., 203-204 

Unitarianism, E. H. on, 117; in 

New England, 121 
Unsoundness, charge of, 146 

War, Revolutionary, E. H. passes 
military lines, 31 ; E. H.'s "suf- 
ferings" during, 215-216 

Westbury Monthly Meeting, mem- 
bers at the time of "separa- 
tion," 188 

Westbury and Jericho Monthly 
Meeting (note), 50; orders E. 
H. home, 50; reference to, 188; 
membership of, 188; disowns K 
H., 189 

Wharton, William, reference to, 

Wheat, E. H. sells at low price, 

Whitall, Joseph, reports E. H. 
unsound, 128 

White, George F., influential in 
disownment of Isaac T. Hop- 
per, 87; on slave labor, 87; at- 
tacks various organizations, 87 

Whitman, Walt, estimation of E. 
H., 205; reference to, 218-219; 
hears E. H. preach, 219 ; de- 
scribes E. H.'s preaching, 213 

Willis, Edmund, traveling com- 
panion of E. H., 38 

Willis, John, traveling com- 
panion of E. H., 32 

Willis, Mary, reference to, 212 ; 
her recollections of E. IT., 212- 

Willis, Thomas and Phebe, op- 
pose E. H., 124; dealt with by 
Jericho Monthly Meeting, 125 ; 
reference to, 182 

Willets, Deborah (note), 178; 
extract from letter, 179-180 

Willets, Jacob (note), 178; state- 
ment about division in meet- 
ings, 178 

Willets, Joshua, son-in-law of E. 
H., 70 

Women, equality of, 15 

Woohnan, John, on slavery, 84 

World, the, against mixing with, 


A, Descendants of Elias Hicks, 

B, Letter to Dr. Atlee, 229-233 

C, The Portraits, 234 

D, The Death Mask, 234 

E, A Bit of Advertisting, 235 

F, Acknowledgment, 235 

19 1910 

One copy del. to Cat. Div.